Wednesday, August 29, 2018

ATTACK OF CDC BY SECESSIONISTS: EFFIGIOUS TESTIMONY OF EMPLOYEES


The attack targeted a banana plantation of the Cameroon Development Cooperation (CDC), a public enterprise operating in the agro-industrial sector, which produces mainly rubber, palm oil and bananas.

This plantation is located in southwestern Cameroon. It is one of the two English-speaking regions of the country, with the North West region. Both regions are currently shaken by severe violence by both security forces and separatist groups.

"Men came with guns and machetes"

An employee of the Tiko banana plantation, who wished to remain anonymous for security reasons, returns to the attack of 24 August.

"We were working when men arrived at the very end of the morning, carrying firearms, machetes and quite rustic clothes, some of them had their faces masked, I would say they were between 30 and 40 They started hitting workers, so I ran away, like a lot of employees, and burned some of the place where the bananas were being processed.

According to some employees, the gunmen asked them, "Why are you still working, since you are not paid?" In fact, we have not been paid since June because of the crisis affecting the area that has hit our production. Moreover, production of rubber and palm oil has also declined, due to frequent attacks.

Some say that the armed men were Ambazonians [a name referring to Ambazonia, the name given by the English-speaking Cameroonian separatists to the English-speaking regions of the country, who attack the symbols of the state, Editor's note]. But we can not know it, since they did not say who they were. "

"Employees told me that soldiers then arrived, and after the attack, I went to the CDC hospital in Tiko. [The company has its own hospitals, Ed.]

It was filled with wounded workers - men and women - although I do not know how much they were precisely [44 according to the BBC, Ed]. Nobody was hurt by a gun, but they had cuts in their hands, head, buttocks and legs. Some cuts were deep and were closed with stitches. Some people had bruises. Currently, there are still wounded in the hospital.

"In July, our banana plantation had already been attacked" In July, our banana plantation had already been attacked. A driver driving workers to the workplace was injured, as were other employees. I was not present at the time of the attack, but I visited the wounded in the hospital after, although they were less numerous than after the attack of August 24th. [According to the Cameroonian media, it is individuals claiming the separatist armed group "Amba Boys" who attacked them, making a dozen wounded, Ed.] The situation is really complicated here ... We live in fear, because of insecurity in the area. The government should try to resolve this crisis. We do not even know when we will be paid next time, because the company says nothing. "The English-speaking regions of Cameroon began to be shaken by protests in late 2016, organized by lawyers, teachers and students.

The latter then intended to denounce the growing "marginalization" of Anglophones in a predominantly French-speaking country. But these demonstrations were harshly repressed by the police. This repression contributed to the radicalization of the protest movement.

As Amnesty International explains, from the end of 2017, moderate voices "began to slip away as armed separatist groups, calling for secession and advocating armed struggle, gained visibility. and in support ". At the same time, the militarization of these regions was strengthened. Since then, numerous human rights violations have been committed by both armed separatist groups and Cameroonian security forces, causing residents to flee en masse. This serious crisis has affected the CDC at different levels in recent months: two of its employees were killed, some of its facilities were destroyed, several plantations were closed.

Thousands of jobs are also threatened, while the CDC is the country's second largest employer, according to its website. Our editorial contacted CDC management, including asking if any steps had been taken to protect employees, but we have not received a response yet. We will publish it if it reaches us.



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