I was passing through Parliament Square, across the road from the Houses of Parliament and I discovered a group of black African people gathering Some of them had flags and on the flags was the name “Ambazonia”. As a journalist I took pictures. Less than an hour after that, I came across them again. Many were strewn across Whitehall outside of Downing Street and stopping traffic.
Please watch the video.
The New State of Ambazonia
The new name, Ambazonia, is derived from the name of the bay on their coastline, Ambas Bay and has also been referred to as being Amba Land. It is situated in the South West of Cameroon and is mainly English speaking as was the North of the country which became a part of Nigeria in 1961. Ambazonia or South Cameroons declared independence from Cameroon (West Africa) in September 2017. It followed escalating unrest that culminated in the main Cameroon government carrying out a series of brutal attacks that have been described as genocidal in nature. President Paul Biya has been president since 1982. That is 37 years. He would have to know what was going on, so he cannot wash his hands of the crimes being committed against these people. In fact, some of his language has led Cameroons to fear being ethnically cleansed. There have been videos, pictures and reports produced to support the claims. These included indiscriminate killing, wholesale burning of villages, rapes and humiliating acts. A petition by South Cameroons was presented to the United Nations and provided details of police raping students at a university.
Cause of the Divide
The South Cameroons are English-speaking citizens of South Cameroons while the rest of Cameroon is French speaking and this is the crux of the matter. The English citizens feel strongly, and not without justification, that they are being treated as second class citizens. From being blatantly penalized in the education system for being English speaking, things have degenerated into barbaric attacks. People have had their homes torched and their young people murdered. Like a lot of third world states, Cameroon has been in receipt of large amounts of Foreign Aid from the United Nations. That seems to have stopped. Only to be replaced by support from France.
Like a number of places in West Africa, Cameroon has suffered vicious attacks by the dreaded Boko Haram, an extremist Islamic group renowned for their violent attacks, especially against children. While they kidnap girls, boys suffer machete attacks and being burned alive. To combat this, Cameroon has developed its own special forces unit, presumably receiving specialist training from the French military. The Cameroon special forces have quickly gained a reputation for being just as brutal as Boko Haram. The French authorities are allegedly taking the lead in resolving the issue in South Cameroons. How they are doing that is uncertain. The British role in the matter is to “Monitor the situation.”
Meanwhile, ten leaders of the Ambazonia separatist movement were arrested whilst in exile in Nigeria a year ago. They have been facing a Yaounde military tribunal, but have refused to identify as Cameroons. Instead there have been calls for them to be returned to the sanctuary of Nigeria.
In writing this article, there are big gaps in the available information, so this is pieced together from what I have found so far.