By Eric Tataw – Wednesday July 3, 2019.
A US Congressional Overseas Delegation (CODEL) that was in Cameroon has officially ended its visit and has left the Central African country, a source told National Telegraph late Wednesday June 3, 2019, but didn’t specify if the Delegation left on Tuesday or Wednesday.
A Democratic Member of the United States Congress, Karen Bass, serving as the U.S. Representative for California’s 37th congressional district led a 7-man delegation to investigate facts about an armed conflict in Cameroon’s two English-speaking regions of the North West and South West but ended up only in air-conditioned offices in Yaounde, the country’s capital found in the Central Region, many miles away from the center of the conflict.
Cameroonians based in the US say they had high aspirations Bass would have visited leaders of the Pro-Independence Movement currently held in jail in Yaounde, Cameroon’s capital. They say previous international visitors aiming at contributing in resolving the conflict have always ignored by intention or omission detainees who are the epicenter of the crisis.
Nigerians who are also friends to most of the leaders also added their voices, National Telegraph has been told. Sisiku Ayuk Tabe Julius, the President of the Interim Government of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia, an outlawed government fighting for the restoration of the statehood of the former British Cameroon and nine other members of his government are held at the Kondegui Principal Prison, a high security detention facility in the country’s capital.
There were also suggestions that if they had visited Buea, the delegation should have traveled by road to Kumba and make round trip to Batibo and Bamenda. These would have given them firsthand appraisal of the devastation, within public view, of some of the towns and villages in the war-torn regions.
Others also hoped Bass should set up meetings with priests especially the Bishop of Mamfe, Andrew Nkea who is the first Man of God to have visited torched villages, refugees and who also has firsthand information on the killing of civilians, including a Kenyan Priest. There are also high recommendations Bass meets Abdulkarim Ali, a Muslim Scholar with detailed knowledge of the situation on the ground as well as rights lawyer, Barrister Agbor Balla.
Many consider Bass’ decision not to visit the two restive regions as bad news for Ambazonia. Many more people are however saying that it’s worst for Bass and her delegation for failing to visit these regions, adding that even if they had security concerns, they should have at least visited prisons in Yaounde where thousands of political prisoners within the garment of the crisis are held.
Cameroon’s Defense Minister Joseph Beti Assomo showed Karen Bass through a PowerPoint, presented gory he claimed are committed by Ambazonia Fighters. The separatists have denied any wrongdoing, saying that government soldiers now dress like Ambazonia fighters, commit crimes and blame it on separatists.
Cameroon’s two English-speaking regions of the North West and South West are engulfed in an armed conflict since 2017 and elements of the armed forces and mobile police have taken advantage to target innocent civilians and loot goods and chattels of the civilian population, sources say.
Credible reports from the US Ambassador to Cameroon, Peter Henry Barlerin, reputable Human Rights Lawyer Agbor Balla and Bishops of Mamfe and Kumbo, the Cameroon military has been wrapped in several war crimes.
Unrest began in October 2016 as a disagreement in language but government mismanaged it, turning it into an armed conflict with a demand by majority of Anglophones in the North West and South West for a separate state called Ambazonia as it was in 1961. Many are now asking the International Community to look at the root cause of the conflict from 1961.
Bass was on Tuesday July 2, 2019 at the Star Building, official workplace of Cameroon’s Prime Minister, where she held talks with the country’s Prime Minister, Joseph Dion Ngute alongside Peter Henry Barlerin, US Ambassador to Cameroon.
Bass has also told Cameroonian authorities to negotiate with armed separatists in the country’s two English-speaking regions, National Telegraph has gathered. Over 400 villages have been torched, thousands held as political prisoners, over 2 million either internally displaced or in other countries as refugees. Thousands have also been reportedly killed by members of the Cameroon armed forces.
Early May 2019, Bass initiated a resolution cosponsored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ); Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI); Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX); Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC); Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN); and Rep. Ron Wright (R-TX) calling on the Government of Cameroon and all armed groups to respect the human rights of all Cameroonian citizens, to end all violence, and to pursue a broad-based dialogue without preconditions to resolve the conflict in the Northwest and Southwest regions.