By Eric Tataw – Washington DC, USA, Thursday, December 5, 2019.
A top Cameroonian Lawyer has openly accused its government of gross Human Rights violations in the country’s North West and South West regions affected by deadly armed conflict.
The lawyer said Cameroon’s President, Paul Biya ordered the deployment of soldiers and military hardware to the country’s two English-speaking regions that caused the killing of innocent civilians.
Barrister Akuwiyadze Joseph said the President’s action led to a mass exodus in these regions with civilians fleeing their homes to other parts of the country and neighbouring countries. “In other words, he declared war on those he termed his brothers and sisters,” the lawyer said.
He furthered, insisting the President declared war on the population by quoting Paul Biya’s text; “All measures have been taken”, he said implying to a brief televised 30 November 2017 statement from Paul Biya following the killing of some law enforcement officers in Kembong, a locality in the country’s Manyu Division, South West.
The lawyer who was speaking on ‘The Inside’, a TV programme on Cameroon’s most-watched television channel, Equinoxe also expressed dismay at the Cameroon military. He went on that he thought the military was well-trained and was supposed to protect civilians but rather goes around killing innocent civilians.
Barrister Akuwiyadze Joseph who’s 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.) said the military isn’t courageous enough to face Ambazonia fighters.
He went on that the military shoots indiscriminately, dismissing any entry that the Cameroon military is very professional. “I think I can tell you that the Cameroon military is one of the unprofessional militaries in the world”, Barrister Akuwiyadze told TV host, Babila Jonathan of The Inside.
“I personally…, before I left Kumbo, I personally saw the military shoot and kill unarmed civilians. There’s a neighbour, I had a neighbour, a lady who was seven months pregnant, a nurse, she was in uniform with a badge and she was going to work.
Because at that time, since the situation was so polarised and so dangerous, health workers were prone to wearing their uniforms from their houses and they carry their badges before going to work.
This is a woman that if you saw from a distance, you will see that this is a pregnant woman who is going to work and works in the hospital and they shot and killed this woman and I saw it with my own eyes.
There was another day I was coming from my construction site. I stayed in my car, waiting for the military to pass so that I could continue and I saw them shoot at a young man who was passing beside the market. This young man carrying nothing. All he had in his hands was a pen and paper. And this is a young man, a welder who had gone and taken measurement from a customer’s house to do window protectors…”
In the same TV Show, the lawyer lamented that after shooting the young man, one of the soldiers moved closer to the victim and rained six more bullets on him as he laid down unarmed, helplessly, adding the military has been doing a very bad job, killing only civilians.
The Lawyer pointed out that although Ambazonian fighters aren’t saints, civilians have fled away mostly from military brutality, arguing that had it not been so, the military would have by now provided a safe haven for the civilians.
The legal luminary stated categorically 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.
Barrister Akuwiyadze Joseph opined that hierarchy in Yaounde is aware of the willful contravening of Human Rights, accusing the regime of a game plan to inflict maximum pain on the population in order to cause them to hate Ambazonian fighters in the hope that the population would be forced to submit.
The lawyer further said looking at events that have unfolded, residents of the two English-speaking regions can never stay together with those of the French regions, adding that Biya’s declaration has radicalised majority of English-speaking Cameroonians.
The lawyer condemned the marginalization of the people of these regions, adding that Paul Biya is unable to solve the crisis. He also challenged the government to call for the International Community to organise a Referendum for the people to decide their destiny.
The lawyer concluded debunking allegations from a former lead lawyer of Sisiku, calling Barrister Fru John Nsoh’s claims that Ayuk Tabe has been compromised a joke before insisting the government must dialogue with those in jail and the Diaspora.