Outcry after jailing of ‘repentant’ separatist fighter
Forsah Michael, a former separatist fighter in Cameroon’s South West region is allegedly behind bars.
Also known as Na-Eh, he was displayed days ago on social media as a former fighter who had dropped his arms.
Pro-government platforms announced that like many others before him, Michael was going to be sent to the much-heralded Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration, DDR centers.
Days later, however, sources say the ex-fighter is languishing behind bars at the Buea Gendarmerie Brigade.
“He says he was convinced to drop his guns by his mother, elite and some DDR boys, but ever since he was locked up none of them has passed there to see him,” the source testifies.
He adds that “I have seen him myself. There’s no doubt in it. He told me the authorities said he is going to prison because he surrendered without a gun.”
He expresses his fear for more separatist fighters willing to drop arms. “Are our children in the NDDR centers safe? Is the presidential amnesty real?” He asked.
Forsah Michael, MMI gathered on good grounds, surrendered to the Divisional Officer for Alou subdivision in Lebialem division on the 10th of November 2020 – just two days ago.
Earlier, he had been spotted in videos with the late separatist fighter, ‘General’ Ayekeh who was killed by security forces weeks back.
DDR Centers in Cameroon came about by presidential decree. The government established the centers as part of its program to give amnesty to separatist fighters who indicate the will to leave the bushes and get reintegrated into society.
It has however not been an easy ride, as life in the DDR centers has been proving hard for ex-fighters. In major towns across the North West and South West regions where the centers are found, it is not uncommon to find them begging on the streets or from day today.
In August 2020, the government announced that some ex-fighters were deserting the centers.
While the government placed the number at 130 escapees, other sources noted that it was much more.
The existence of DDR centers till date, however, undermines the magnitude of the close to four-year-long armed conflict, as the government is accused of using escapist moves and not hitting the nail on the head.
To resolve the conflict, many have urged that the government releases all jailed in connection with the crisis, calls for a ceasefire, and accepts a dialogue mediated by a neutral party.
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