World View: Cameroon’s English-Speaking Provinces on the Verge of Full-Scale Violence

A demonstrator carries a sign calling for the liberation of detained activists during a protest against perceived discrimination in favour of the country's francophone majority on September 22, 2017 in Bamenda, the main town in northwest Cameroon and an anglophone hub. Several thousand demonstrators took to the streets in English-speaking …

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Cameroon’s English-speaking provinces on the verge of full-scale violence
  • Cameroon and Paul Biya behave typically following a generational crisis civil war

Cameroon’s English-speaking provinces on the verge of full-scale violence

People of the Anglophone town of Eyumojock in a tense, angry standoff with police following the killing of some police officers on Wednesday (Cameroon Concord)
People of the Anglophone town of Eyumojock in a tense, angry standoff with police following the killing of some police officers on Wednesday (Cameroon Concord)

Separatists in the Southern Cameroons, the Anglophone (English-speaking) regions of Cameroon, seeking independence from the Francophone (French-speaking) government, killed four policemen and two soldiers in two attacks in the last week. The security forces had been sent into the Anglophone regions to try to suppress further unrest, but separatists claim that they have set up checkpoints on roads as symbols of Francophone occupation. The activists are demanding for the Southern Cameroons to secede, and create an independent nation called Ambazonia.

Ben Kuah, the chairman of the military wing of the secessionist group Ambazonian Governing Council (AGC) said:

One of the main objectives is to clear the checkpoints that they have put on our roads. They are the symbols of occupation.

Cameroon’s president Paul Biya promised retaliation for the attacks:

I think things are now perfectly clear to everyone. Cameroon is the victim of repeated attacks.

Faced with these attacks of aggression, I assure the Cameroonian people that all measures are being taken to end these criminals’ ability to do harm.

Cameroon’s Minister of Defense Beti Assomo said:

Following the president of the Republic, the Head of the armed forces’ declaration after the repeated attacks and killings in the country, that are claimed by secessionist movements, we are expected to arrive at concrete measures for the immediate application of the strategy of the heads in the army. And the process is going to continue till this situation that we are experiencing is eradicated.

The violence started in 2016, but at the start was almost entirely one-sided, with the Francophone security forces violently attacking peaceful Anglophone protesters.

In 2016, the peaceful protests began with claims by Anglophone lawyers that the legal and court systems are biased toward Francophones, with many laws passed without even being translated into English. Anglophone teachers joined in, protesting that all courses in the schools had to be taught in French and that any use of English was forbidden. The Francophone police responded by severely beating several protesters, and shooting two of them dead.

The Francophone government has done some really stupid things in the past year, apparently in the belief that they can end the peaceful protests by violently attacking the protesters. The security forces repeatedly used tear gas, gunfire, beatings, and jailings against the protesters. The government shut down the internet in the Southern Cameroons for several months, in the moronic belief that they would stop protesting if they didn’t have the internet available to do their jobs and earn a livelihood.

Government idiocy reached a height in August when the government deployed 400 additional police to the Anglophone regions to force schoolchildren to go to school. There were still protests going on over the schools being forced to teach all subjects in French, but instead of simply allowing some courses like geography and math to be taught in English, they sent the police out to drag little children to school.

The violence took a particularly dangerous turn on September 22, when activist forces began using small bombs to target local security forces. On October 1, separatists staged a massive march and declared the independence of Ambazonia. In the increasingly violent Francophone government crackdown that followed, hundreds of people were arrested, and helicopter gunships were used to fire on innocent civilians and kill them. At least 5,000 people have fled across the border to neighboring Nigeria to escape the violence.

On Sunday, state radio said, “Paul Biya has declared war on these terrorists who seek secession,” and that a large-scale military operation was being prepared, indicating that a full-scale violent conflict is about to begin. AFP and Cameroon Concord and VOA

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Cameroon and Paul Biya behave typically following a generational crisis civil war

As regular readers are aware, we have discovered some patterns that countries predictably follow during the generational Awakening and Unraveling eras, one or two generation past the end of the preceding generational Crisis war.

In America, the Awakening era was in the 1960s, following World War II, with massive student protests in colleges and racial protests on the streets of Los Angeles, Chicago, and many other cities. The government did not use gunfire and helicopter gunships to stop the violence, and the only jailings were for specific property crimes. The government continued in an orderly constitutional manner, with presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon.

Cameroon’s last generational crisis war was “UPC Revolt,” 1956-1960, which was a bloody civil war by communists attacking the Anglophone “British Cameroons” colony and the Francophone “French Cameroun” colony. The outcome was a single independent country, Cameroon, which merged the British and French colonies together.

Paul Biya was born in 1933 and became president in 1982. He consolidated his power by orchestrating a fake coup, giving him an opportunity to eliminate all his rivals, and making him, in effect, a dictator.

During the generational Awakening and Unraveling eras that followed independence, Cameroon had the same student protests and other protests that every country has, one or two generations after the end of the preceding crisis war. But there is a sharp distinction when the preceding crisis war was an internal civil war. In this case, the government refuses to cede power to the opposition, fearing a renewal of the civil war, and uses murder, rape, torture, and jailings arbitrarily against peaceful protesters in the opposition.

I’ve described this with leaders in numerous countries where the Awakening era follows a generational crisis civil war, including Pierre Nkurunziza in Burundi, Paul Kagame in Rwanda, Yoweri Museveni in Uganda, Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, Joseph Kabila in DRC, or, outside of Africa, Bashar al-Assad in Syria and Hun Sen in Cambodia.

Paul Biya, who has been president in Cameroon for 34 years, is simply following this same pattern, the same sociopathic violent behavior against a peaceful opposition to remain in power at all costs. If you would like a simple psychology explanation for why this happens, I will give you mine: When the leader of a country participated in an internal crisis civil war, and during the war was responsible for ordering the rape, torture, and slaughter of other people who are essentially his neighbors, then he is traumatized for life and develops the sociopathy that we have described. But whatever the reason, we have now seen this in one country after another, and the phenomenon is being firmly supported by the research. Quartz and Crisis Group (19-Oct)

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Cameroon, Paul Biya, Southern Cameroons, Anglophone, Francophone, Ambazonia, Ambazonian Governing Council, AGC, Beti Assomo
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