By Jude Ndeh Asah
The release of several leaders of the North West and South West Speaking Regions of Cameroon is welcome news, says United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.
“The Secretary-General hopes that this positive step will lead to a further lowering of tensions and strengthened political dialogue,” said Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, in a statement issued following the 30 August decision by President Biya to release and drop charges against the detainees.
“The Secretary-General encourages the Cameroonian authorities to pursue their efforts to address the grievances of the Anglophone community and promote measures of national reconciliation in order to find a durable solution to the crisis,” Mr. Dujarric added.
Mr Dujarric went further to say the Secretary General also reiterated the readiness of the UN to support efforts to address concerns raised by the Anglophone community.
Arrested in the English speaking North West and South West regions last year, the leaders including Barrister Agbor Nkongho Felix, Dr Fontem Niba, Mancho Bibixy were detained at the Kondengui maximum security prison in the nation’s capital Yaoundé. Ayah Paul, a Supreme Court Judge, arrested while in active duty is amongst the leaders released.
While many see in the release of the prisoners, it remains to be seen if the President will go further with dialogue and broad political reforms that will calm restive denizens of the English speaking regions whose tales of maginalization,abuse , and gross neglect have attracted global attention.
Schools were largely grounded during the last school year and signs point to a chaos as the new school year is scheduled to start on September 5.