September 22, 2017: A day which changed the course of the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon
While the Head of State H.E. Paul Biya mounted the podium at the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly in New York with his usual message of peace and reconciliation in the world, Anglophones back in Cameroon and other parts of the world decided to lay bare the falsehood that Cameroon has been living in for decades.
While in the Anglophone regions soldiers had been poured into the streets, as usual, to fend off any form of an uprising by the population, what the people had in them was anything but fear.
The masked military was on the streets, the AK47s were on display in every nook and cranny of the two regions, the armoured cars had taken over the roads of every major town in the Anglophone regions.
The psychological warfare must have been thought won by the local authorities. How wrong were they?
It took Anglophones little or no efforts on that day to swamp up the streets with peace plants and messages of liberation.
With nothing else but their determination and the quest to make the world know what was going on in Cameroon, they were faced with ruthless repression from the military.
It soon turned bloody. Soldiers shot live bullets at protesters. Multitudes were killed while they were unarmed on the streets with nothing more than their voices.
Military helicopters were deployed to block civilians. Thousands of protesters were followed right into the bushes and shot dead by the forces of law and order.
There were many unconfirmed reports of rotting corpses in forests in the Anglophone regions.
That day in the Anglophone regions marked the beginning of something which was never meant to be unleashed.
Anglophones bore resentment for the system and decided it was time to step out of the Union. The ruthless repressions left a scar on most Anglophones who chose to retaliate, ultimately degenerating to the armed conflict we have today.
For three long years, the government has done everything but take the right steps to solve the problem. Many government ministers even said at the time that the government was going to squash the resistance in a matter of weeks; weeks turned to months, months turned to years and here we are three whole years of an effective armed struggle.
With each passing day, the separatist fighters become better armed and stronger enough to flex muscles with a trained Cameroonian army.
As Anglophones commemorate the third anniversary of their massive September 22 protest, opposition leader, and president of the CRM party, Maurice Kamto has sought to draw inspiration from the Anglophone act of defiance the same day three years ago.
He has called on his supporters to take to the streets in a peaceful protest to call for the president to step down from power amidst his incompetence. Many have reacted positively to the call and some have criticized it. The big question remains, can Kamto’s followers brave the odds? Can they defy the armoured cars, the armed forces? Do they have the guts to defy the regime in Yaounde?
We will keep watching.
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