Over 35 human rights organization weigh-in after Kumba massacre; request cease fire in Cameroon

By Amos Fofung

After Saturday’s massacre on a school in Kumba, South West region of Cameroon, some 35 human rights organizations have joined forces and are now mounting pressure on the administration of President Paul Biya and separatist leaders to cease fire.

This come after yet another attack on a school premises that left at least seven pupils death and over a dozen injured after gunmen open fire on children studying in class.

Drawn across Africa, Canada, the United Kingdom and United States, the right groups reiterate that the solution to the Anglophone crisis is not a military one.

The organizations who signed a letter published by Global Campaign for Peace and Justice in Cameroon, urged the United Nation to take steps in ensuring a cease-fire deal is reached.

“We are killing ourselves, we are killing our brothers and sisters, we are killing our kids,” said Christopher Fomunyoh, Senior Associate and Regional Director for Central and West Africa at the National Democratic Institute, NDI, who is also involved with the group that published the open letter. 

‘”We must sit around a table and discuss the grievances of the Anglophone minority that are genuine and legitimate. Unless we sit down and have this conversation, this crisis will endure… “The world is seized with the current crisis in Cameroon and I hope that this global appeal for peace and justice in Cameroon, and for the cessation of atrocities and hostilities, will resonate internationally as well as within the country,” he told DW.

The other signatories includingDoctor Denis MukwegeNobel Peace Prize 2018,ProfessorMuhammad YunusNobel Peace Prize 2006, founder of the Grameen Bank,People’s Republic of Bangladesh, the Honourable José Ramos-Horta Nobel Peace Prize 1996, formerPresident of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste the Honourable FW de Klerk Nobel PeacePrize 1993 former President of the Republic of South Africa, the Honourable Oscar Arias SánchezNobel Peace Prize 1987 former President of the Republic of Costa Rica,he Right Honourable Joe Clarkformer Prime Minister of Canada,the Honourable Ricardo LagosformerPresident of Chile, andthe Right Honourable Harriet Baldwin,Member of Parliament of the United Kingdom among others.

Recall that since 2016, conflict broke out in Cameroon’s two English-speaking regions after a dialogue between trade unionist and government went sideways. The trade unions including lawyers and teachers would later take to the streets for peaceful protest which was short-lived by government’s harsh response and the seizing of the protest by separatist.

2017 took the then revolt into an armed crisis with non-state armed groups now fighting to seperate Cameroon and create a new nation called Ambazonia from the English-speaking regions.

It is estimated that conflict has claimed more than 3,000 lives and forced over 700,000 people to flee their homes.

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