Cameroon: Leaders Of Non-State Armed Groups Split Over “All Ambazonia Conference”

Their statement that other groups will be invited along the way and we here at the Interim Government say hell no, said Chris Anu, a long-time spokesperson and now president for Cameroon’s self-declared Republic of Ambazonia

By Synthia Lateu & Boris Esono Nwenfor

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BUEA, March 11, 2023 – Some leaders of the Southern Cameroon movement have called for an All Ambazonia Conference from Thursday, July 6 to Monday, July 10, 2023. This is contained in a release made public on March 5, 2023. However, not all the separatist leaders are in sync with this move.

The five leaders stated that the conference will bring together sons and daughters of Ambazonia including women, the displaced, and civil society at home and in the diaspora, to jointly engage in an inclusive conference that seeks to achieve a defining path for liberation of the homeland.

They have scheduled a tour to meet Ambazonians that starts with Toronto, Canada on Saturday, April 12, 2023.”The tours are designed to engage and discuss with our compatriots about recent happenings and to make sure the conference takes into account the contributions of all,” the leaders said, adding that an organizing committee will be put in place to begin preparations and work with partners to facilitate the planning and execution of the conference.

Dr Ebenezer D.M. Akwanga of African People’s Liberation Movement (APLM/SOCADEF), Dr Lucas Cho Ayaba of Ambazonia Governing Council (AGovC/ADF), Mr Dabney Yerima of Interim Government (IG), Mr John Mbah Akuroh of Southern Cameroons Civil Society Consortium and Dr Emmanuel J. Taylor of Ambazonia Coalition Team (ACT) who jointly convened the conference, envisage contacting other leaders to take part in discussions about the conference, and to share their vision for Ambazonia.

Canada Imitative Offers opportunity for peace

Efforts to reinstate peace in the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon have been manifested both nationally and internationally. On January 20, 2023, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly, said in a statement that Canada welcomed the agreement by parties to enter a process to reach a comprehensive, peaceful and political resolution of the conflict plaguing Cameroon.

But Cameroon’s Minister of Communication Rene Emmanuel Sadi refuted this declaration of Cameroon’s agreement to a proposed Canada Peace Talks with non-state armed groups, barely days after while stating that, “the Major Dialogue, which was held in Yaounde in 2019, was an opportunity for the sons and daughters of Cameroon to exchange freely and discuss prospects for a future of peace, security and progress for our country.”

Meanwhile, Religious Leaders of the North West and South West regions of Cameroon considered Canada’s initiative laudable and to them, it was a major step towards peace. In a 7-point joint statement they issued on 22nd January 2023, they told the stakeholders of the peace process to let the spirit of God assist them and hoped that they would keep aside their personal and/or political or other exclusive interests during the talks.

No one group should be allowed to sit on behalf of Ambazonia, says Chris Anu

No one group should be allowed to sit on behalf of Ambazonia – Anu

In a voice note from Chris Anu, a long-time spokesperson for Cameroon’s self-declared Republic of Ambazonia, elected President of the separatist movement on September 10, 2022, says no one group should be allowed to sit on behalf of Ambazonia and that the group thing should be forbidden. “The groups, once in the meeting or conference will figure out the process of chosen the experts that will represents Ambazonia during the negotiations. The catch is to prevent groups or individuals from being easily infiltrated or bought over by the enemy.

In an interview with VOA’s James Butty last year, Anu said that the movement will take the fight to the territories of the Republic of Cameroon (French speaking part of the country). He promised to also review the movement’s much-criticised policy of closing schools.

“Where the conference that is being pitch is going wrong is in the idea of a few people, people with questionable or sometimes dubious resumes throughout the six-year war appearing to want to own and run away with the process, instead of consulting with all leaders but they seemed to be deciding the modus operandi of the conference. For example, the have already picked the date and venue without adequate consultation with the leaders. Their statement that other groups will be invited along the way and we here at the Interim Government say hell no,” Chris Anu added.

Cameroon continues to bear the brunt of the six-year armed conflict. According to the United Nations, there has been continuous fighting between state security forces and armed groups has led to the killing and displacement of civilians, including attacks on schools and children. Over 6,000 persons have reportedly lost their lives since 2017, nearly 800,000 have been displaced and 600,000 children are left without full access to education.

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