By Eric Tataw – Washington DC, USA, Friday, November 6, 2020.
The US Department of State warned in a statement, Friday November 6, 2020, it will boycott Cameroonian groups and events in the US that include calls for violence or hate speech, adding it supports the territorial integrity of Cameroon.
The statement, Friday also said the Cameroonian Diaspora in the United States “can and must play a critical key role to end the violence in Cameroon.”
Cameroon is in a three-year-old armed conflict in its North West and South West where rebels have been battling the regular army to establish an independent state of Ambazonia.
Local media and rights groups continue to report increased tension and confrontations in these unruly regions in a conflict that has already killed over eighteen thousand people, according to John Mbah Akuroh, a Cameroonian activist based in the US state of Maryland.
The US Department of State’s statement furthered that Cameroonians in the US have a role through public remarks, private conversations, remittances, international conferences, and social media posts to set an agenda for peace to return in the embattled Central African country.
“We encourage you to use the power of your voices in a constructive manner to promote peace as you engage with Cameroonians worldwide, the U.S. government, Congress, and on social media,” the statement, Friday said.
Parts of the statement also call for all actors to peacefully address the “long-term grievances” driving the current conflict in the Anglophone regions and to avoid actions that increase the hardships experienced by civilians in these regions.
The statement also highlights the United States government considers the Cameroonian diaspora a critical tool that can push for meaningful change in the country and address long-term grievances, support the safety of humanitarian workers, get children back to school safely, and bring an end to hostilities.
Violence has continued to grow in the two English-speaking regions over the last few weeks with systematic attacks on schools and unarmed civilians.
On Thursday November 5, 2020, the country held an Ecumenical service for victims of a mass shooting in Kumba, an unruly city in its South West Region where seven children were shot and killed at the Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy on Saturday October 24, 2020, by members of the Cameroon military, according to a National Telegraph investigation.
National Telegraph also confirmed, Tuesday November 3, 2020, separatist fighters kidnapped 11 teachers from a Presbyterian Primary School in Kumbo and the day section of the secondary school (PCHS Kumbo), in Cameroon’s North West Region.
Christian Wiyghan Tumi, a Cameroonian cleric and a former Archbishop of Douala in the country’s Littoral Region was kidnapped, Thursday November 5, 2020, and only released, Friday November 6, 2020. The Cardinal was in a convoy ferrying a local ruler from Bamenda, headquarters of Cameroon’s North West to the town of Kumbo in same region when the incident happened.
Since the beginning of the crisis, many houses have also been torched, thousands locked up under deplorable conditions in various detention facilities across the country, including Sisiku Ayuk Tabe Julius, President of the outlawed Ambazonia Interim Government. At least over two million people are either internally displaced or are leaving in Nigeria and neighboring countries as refugees.