Friday, March 27, 2020

Ambazonia: RFI delivers details of the separatist cease-fire

Coronavirus could bring peace to the northwest and southwest of Cameroon, two areas at war with the republican army since 2016. According to French radio RFI, one of the influential separatist groups responded to the secretary's cease-fire. General of the United Nations. Here are the details of this turnaround.

One of the three main English-speaking separatist armed groups in Cameroon rallies to the call for a ceasefire "all over the world" launched on Monday by United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres in the context of the fight against the Covid- 19. 

The letter is dated March 25 and signed in Accra, Ghana. The movement of the Defense Forces of Southern Cameroon (Socadef) of the independence leader Ebenezer Akwanga undertakes to cease hostilities from Sunday March 29 and for fourteen days, but specifies that it will maintain its positions ready to defend itself at need. 

Reason invoked: to allow aid workers to circulate in English-speaking areas to prevent and fight against the Covid-19 epidemic, as demanded by the UN secretary general. 

An initiative welcomed by Antonio Guterres 

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres "welcomes" this announcement through his spokesperson and calls on the other armed groups to do the same and all the parties to resume dialogue. On Monday, March 23, he called for an "immediate ceasefire anywhere in the world" to save the most vulnerable civilians in countries in conflict from the "fury" of the coronavirus. Thursday evening, the Cameroonian authorities had identified 88 cases of coronavirus, in Yaoundé, Douala and Bafoussam.

This announcement comes at a time when the separatists have also suffered major setbacks on the ground recently, and since several weeks ago, according to information from RFI, discreet negotiations have resumed to find a way out of this conflict. 

No response from the government 

Remains to be seen what will be the impact on the ground of this declaration? The English-speaking separatist movement is made up of “a multitude of small militias responding to several different political leaders,” recalls Arrey Elvis Ntui, researcher at the International Crisis Group. However, for the moment, only the Socadef movement has responded to the United Nations' appeal. 

"Even if it is not the end of hostilities, the symbolic significance of this gesture remains strong", estimates an analyst close to the file, insofar as Ebenezer Akwanga is "a pioneer of English-speaking nationalism". 

As for the Cameroonian authorities and security forces, in his letter, the independence leader also asked them to engage in a "cease-fire". Thursday evening, they had not yet reacted.