Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Fighting for Freedom of Language?

"We see the situation degenerating from a crisis to a conflict."
"And if nothing is done soon, it will turn into a civil war with grave consequences."
Gaby Ambo, executive director, Finders Group Initiative, human rights, Cameroon

"It is not possible to sit around the table with groups who would like to take the nation and cleave the nation."
"Secession, this shall never, ever take place."
Issa Tchiroma Bakary, Cameroon information minister

"We are at a very, very dangerous crossroads."
"The absence of willingness on the part of Cameroon to negotiate itself out of its occupation of Ambazonia and insistence on the utilization of disproportionate force leaves the Ambazonian people with no other choice than to defend themselves."
Cho Ayaba, commander-in-chief, Ambazonian Defense Forces


"We are military. We are going to shoot them [militant separatists]. It is a war."
"You can't go into a sovereign country and have weapons and shoot police and military."
Colonel Didier Badjeck, Cameroonian defense spokesman

Another African country, another conflict. Most often the conflict is sectarian-based, but not necessarily, since tribal conflicts are also hugely incendiary. Africa has Islamic State affiliates like Boko Haram and Al Shabaab and other offshoots of Islamofascism, including al-Qaeda. In Cameroon, however, the rising conflict and issue of separation is linked to language. The government of Cameroon is dominantly French, but in the northern part of the country is an English-speaking component; restive, complaining and demanding of their right to a sovereign state of Ambazonia, "land of freedom".

You've heard of Amazonia, but never of Ambazonia? Well, Cameroonian English-speaking separatists want you to become familiar with Ambazonia, because it is their nation. Leading the Cameroonian government to call the separatists "terrorists" and not completely without reason, given the violence they are responsible for having taken up arms, burning markets, beheading soldiers, kidnapping people they claim are traitors to their cause of 'freedom' to be Ambazonians.

Not that the Cameroonian military hasn't been pleased to reciprocate. Social media is replete with videos claiming to demonstrate that both sides in this propaganda conflict haven't been immune to wreaking havoc. The separatists for their part, accuse the Cameroonian military of "genocide", a word that is thrown about with careless abandon to credibility around the world lately. This call for secession is decades old, but recently upgraded in intensity.

Agitating from abroad because he doesn't live in Cameroon, the man who calls himself the Ambazonian chief of Defense Forces believes the United Nations Charter validates Ambazonia as a nation. And why would he not? After all, the Palestinians have been given irregular status within the United Nations as a special favourite among the predominately influential human-rights abusing nations of the world, why not Ambazonia? It has been proving that any atrocities the Palestinians can contrive they are capable of performing just as well, after all.

Composed of roughly a fifth of the population in two of Cameroon's ten regions, English-speaking citizens believe they have an entitlement to a sovereign present in a country considered the most geographically, ethnically and linguistically diverse in Africa, often referred to as "Little Africa". But Cameroon has no wish to become geographically "littler" by permitting its territory to be sliced away at the demand of separatists.

Anglophone-speakers symbolic of the colonialist past, feel disentitled by the French-speaking government, marginalized, lacking opportunities, overlooked and abandoned. The strategic solution to the situation is separation. In the process violence ensues, schools, homes and villages torched, travel blocked between the two language-driven entities; hostilities at full, violent tilt. Tens of thousands of people have fled, some to cross the border into Nigeria.

Where the population in the largest of African nations is half Christian, half Muslim and the conflict there sees rampaging Muslim Islamist jihadis creating vicious havoc and destruction and will now have new targets to zero in on.
Viva, darkest Continent!

Africa's Active Militant Islamic Groups as of Apr 2017

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