By Eric Tataw – Washington DC, USA – Monday, December 9, 2019.
The creation of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) led by Francis Ona wasn’t disconnected to grievances from the Panguna Copper Mine operated by Rio-Tinto, located in Bougainville.
As our readers will later understand, the uneven distribution of royalties and the environmental damage the mine was causing in Bougainville led to a revolt in 1988 against the government of Papua New Guinea. This is the case with Ambazonia against the government of Cameroon or LRC.
Many are already expecting the announcement that the World now has a new country in Bougainville. Two weeks of voting has ended. All said polls have closed in Bougainville referendum on independence from Papua New Guinea – PNG.
A good number of the over 207,000 registered voters cast ballots from all precincts in Bougainville, including Bougainville in the Diaspora notably the Solomon Islands, other parts of PNG and Australia.
Bougainville is in the Eastern Region of Papua New Guinea, a country in Southwestern Pacific, National Telegraph has gathered. Bougainville Island like it’s called is the main island of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville of Papua New Guinea.
Occupied by over two hundred and thirty-four thousand, two hundred and eighty (234,280) persons, Bougainville is way small compared to Amabzonia with over eight million people with a powerful diaspora.
Ambazonia is a name used by armed groups and political activists for Cameroon’s two English-speaking regions where there’s an armed conflict with a demand by the majority of Anglophones in the North West and South West for a separate state called Ambazonia.
Just like the Copper in Bougainville, Ambazonia is highly endowed with natural resources from Timber, Gold, high levels of petroleum deposits, dams for generating electricity, Cocoa, Coffee, Banana, Plantain, Rubber, bauxite, just to name a few.
It has been clearly demonstrated by the government of President Paul Biya that the interest is in the abundant resources naturally stationed in all corners of ‘Amabazonia.’
This has been explained by the fact that if the government cared about its territorial integrity and the residents therein, it wouldn’t instruct its military to burn down whole villages, burn old and disable persons alive, shoot and kill pregnant women and babies, students and health workers and even domestic animals from Pigs to Goats to dogs.
As a matter of fact, Barrister Akuwiyadze Joseph, a member of the Cameroon Bar and Defense Team of Sisiku Ayuk Tabe Julius and Co (Leaders of Cameroon’s Secessionist Movement jailed in Yaounde, Cameroon’s capital for declaring the independence of Ambazonia, a country armed groups in the country’s two English-speaking regions are trying to restore.) made on-the-spot declarations.
He said he personally witnessed the military shot and killed a pregnant nurse, a youth who only had a pen in his hands and also that in April of 2019, in the center of Kumbo, capital of Cameroon’s Bui Division in the Central African country’s restive North West Region, the military torched 42 houses, including his own house in full view of residents.
In the case of Bougainville, violent clashes led to the deaths of over twenty thousand (20.000) people before a truce was called in 1997, and New Zealand sponsored peace talks began in 1998. An Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), making Bougainville the only province of PNG with its own legislature was created after a peace agreement signed in 2001.
Bougainville was occupied by Australia during World War I, according to archival evidence but was later administered within the Territory of New Guinea. Papua New Guinea gained its independence from Australia in 1975, and Bougainville unilaterally declared its independence as the Republic of the North Solomons but was never recognized by the international community. Within six months, Papua New Guinea absorbed Bougainville. However, it’s now almost certain this is ending after this Referendum.
On the one hand, Ambazonia, consistinG of the two English-speaking regions of the North West and South West of Cameroon was previously an Independent country in 1961 with its own police, parliament, and everything synonymous with a sovereign state.
In 1955, the outlawed Union of the Peoples of Cameroon (UPC), began an armed struggle for independence in French Cameroon. French Cameroon achieved independence in 1960 as the Republic of Cameroon. The following year the largely Muslim northern two-thirds of British Cameroon voted to join Nigeria and the largely Christian of the Southern area voted to join with the Republic of Cameroon to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon.
The Republic of Cameroon will later under gross illegality abolish the Federal Republic of Cameroon with all its terms and subjugated residents of Southern Cameroon to all forms of discrimination, turning them into second-class citizens for a people who signed a deal based on absolute equality.
Just for the records, Ahmadou Ahidjo, who was chosen President of the Federation in 1961 and after successfully suppressing the UPC rebellion and capturing the last of its rebel leader in 1970, moved in 1972, to create a new constitution replacing the Federation with a Unitary State.
The Federation Agreement meant that the formerly French and British regions each maintained substantial autonomy but Ahidjo ended that in 1972, contravening any legal instrument in place to protect the minority residents formally of the British, what is today the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon or Ambazonia according to armed groups and political activists.
After many years of untold misery meted upon the people of the North West and South West of Cameroon aka Amabzonia, many who couldn’t bear the brunt of the inequality were definitely looking for an opportunity to vent their ire from years of no jobs, no hospitals, no political rights, no good roads, compounded by language and judicial discrimination.
In 2016, when teachers and lawyers started a protest to draw the government’s attention to language discrimination in schools and courts, the government’s inability to contain the situation gave birth to a new wave of resistance; The Ambazonia War of Independence.
The war has led to thousands of deaths, torching hundreds of villages, millions of displaced people and thousands of political prisoners. With the Biya regime showing no sign of calling for a ceasefire and with the armed groups determined to fight for as long as it takes to get Independence, many think a Bougainville Scenario will save lives and bring lasting peace to the area.