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Five Cameroonian hostages freed in Chad handed over to Cameroon Embassy

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Five Cameroonian nationals who were abducted by a Chadian armed gang have been freed and handed over to Cameroonian authorities in Ndjamena.

This followed a successful operation led by the Chadian Minister of Public Security, General Mahamat Charfadine Margui.

The handover of the hostages took place on March 29 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with representatives from both countries in attendance.

Among the dignitaries present were Chad’s Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Secretary-General for the Ministry of Public Security, and the First Counsellor of the Cameroon Embassy in Chad.

The hostages were freed at the Chad-Cameroon border, where they had been held captive for days by armed groups which have been launching sporadic attacks along the borderline.

Freed hostages with Chadian and Cameroonian authorities

The operation to secure their release was conducted by General Mahamat Charfadine Margui, as part of a large-scale operation to combat transnational crime and ensuring the safety of foreign nationals within Chadian borders.

The Secretary General of Chad’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Beounngar David Doudjim, praised the determination of the defense and security forces to secure the release of the hostages.

He further hailed the valiance of the authorities in putting an end to the activities of the kidnappers disrupting the region.

The representative of Cameroon’s diplomatic mission to Chad also appreciated the efforts by the Chadian Government to maintain security along the troubled borderline.

Chad and Cameroon share a border spanning more than 1,100-kilometers. But the civilian population along this area are constantly troubled by attacks from the Boko Haram militant group and armed gangs.

The area is a hotspot for kidnappings, arms trafficking and farmer-herder conflicts.

In October last year, Defence Ministers from the two Central African nations met in the Cameroonian capital Yaoundé to map out strategies to combat transborder attacks and crime.

After the meeting, Cameroon’s Defence Minister, Joseph Beti Assomo, said the militaries of both countries have been instructed to jointly monitor attacks by Boko Haram extremists and armed gangs along the border.

©Mimi Mefo Info

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Afrique

Former US diplomat says Anglophone Crisis could be averted if Cameroon had imitated Canada

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By Daniel D.

Former United States Under Secretary of State for African Affairs, Tibor Nagy, has said the ongoing crisis in the English-speaking Regions could have been avoided if the government had learned from how Canada treats its minority French-speaking population.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Nagy lamented the failure of the Cameroon government to emulate Canada’s approach to minority rights.

His comments underscored the deep-seated grievances among Anglophones in Cameroon, who have long bemoaned marginalization and discrimination by the Francophone-dominated government.

“Having just been to Canada to see how the 80% Anglophone majority treats the Francophone minority with dignity makes me grieve for Cameroon’s Ambazonians,” he tweeted on Monday, April 15.

“If only Cameroon’s Francophone regime dealt with their Anglophones the same way, there would be no Ambazonia conflict. Tragic!”

Nagy’s advocacy for Ambazonia’s separatist movement is not new.

Following his departure from the US government in 2020, he became a vocal supporter of Ambazonia, advocating for the creation of a breakaway state.

His stance has evolved over time, from advocating for a unified Cameroon to endorsing secession as the solution to the Anglophone crisis.

“We support a unified Cameroon because the last thing Africa needs is another minor state that will be full of poverty and suffering and need billions of dollars of foreign assistance. What happens if you split up part of Cameroon? What happens in parts of Nigeria? That’s not what Africa needs at all,” he stated in 2020 while still working for the US government.

However, Nagy’s shifting positions have drawn scrutiny and criticism.

His previous assertions before the US Congress emphasized the importance of dialogue, decentralization, and unity in resolving the conflict, contrasting with his later advocacy for secession.

“I think that most Cameroonians in the South West and North West have a sense of ‘Cameroonianess’ and they can’t accept to separate in what they call Ambazonia; in my view, it is not realistic,” he told Congress while responding to questions about whether Anglophones wanted a separation.

That reaction in 2019 was received with a lot of backlash from the Cameroon Anglophone Diaspora.

In 2021, when he was no longer in a position of power, his views changed.

Instead of pushing for genuine dialogue, he became an advocate for secession as the only way out of the current predicament.

“If Southern Cameroonian leadership, their elites, and the people want to resolve their problem and achieve their full dignity, then they have to focus on the future instead of coming up with arguments that, ‘once upon a time, this happened. So it’s the responsibility of the international community to all of a sudden create the State of Ambazonia and give it to us’. That will be nice, but honestly, it’s not going to happen,” he said.

Nagy has been advocating for Southern Cameroonians to take their destiny into their own hands.

These are the same people he earlier said were in favour of unity with the Francophone majority. 

Tibor Nagy had probably been to Canada before, but his recent visit suddenly reminded him of how the majority-Francophone regime in Cameroon should treat the Anglophone minority.

That is because Quebec, which consists of the minority French-speaking Canadians, is treated with dignity and equality, contrary to the perceived treatment of the Anglophone minority in Cameroon. 

Anglophones in Cameroon have accused the government of systematic discrimination and marginalization since they reunited with the French-speaking majority in 1961.

This grievance triggered an industrial strike by Anglophone lawyers and teachers in 2016, which the general later joined.

The peaceful strikes in the Anglophone Regions were met with brutality from the government, leading to a bloody escalation in 2017.

©Mimi Mefo Info

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Martinez Zogo trial adjourned to May 6, court rejects live broadcast

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By Tata Mbunwe

The trial of journalist Martinez Zogo’s murder suspects has been adjourned to May 6, 2024, as the court rejected a request by lawyers for a live broadcast of the proceedings.

The case was heard at the Yaoundé military court for a second time today, after the first appearance on March 25.

The trial suspects, including billionaire Jean Pierre Amougou Belinga, and the dismissed director of the secret service (DGRE), Maxime Eko, were ferried from the Kondengui prison to court.

Seventeen suspects are standing trial for the abduction, torture and murder of the Amplitude FM director, whose remains were found mutilated on the outskirts of Yaoundé on January 22, 2023.

This was five days after his abduction.

A preliminary investigation report earlier released by the Examining Magistrate of the Yaoundé Military Court, Pierrot Narcisse Nzie, indicated that the crime was committed by a hired team of Cameroon’s secret service agents and gendarmerie officers.

They were allegedly sponsored by the CEO of Vision 4 television, Jean Pierre Amougou Belinga, who has been behind bars since February 6.

Belinga is facing charges of complicity in the torture of Martinez Zogo.

Last week, when Belinga and other suspects first appeared in court, lawyers defending the murdered journalist requested that the proceedings be broadcast live on television.

There were counter suggestions from some of the lawyers defending the accused.

However, the court has ruled out the live broadcast, which its proponents had argued, would ensure transparency on the court proceedings.

©Mimi Mefo Info

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Pioneer DDR Coordinator for NW, Gabsa Sixtus, dies

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By Kate Bih

The pioneer Coordinator of the center for the Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration of ex-combatants in the North West Region, Gabsa Sixtus, has died.

Gabsa, who was known for his unwavering commitment to peacebuilding, passed away on April 15, 2024, just one day before his birthday.

Appointed by Prime Ministerial decision no. 131 on December 7, 2018, Gabsa served as the Head of DDR for the North West Region, where his leadership and vision shaped initiatives aimed at promoting stability and reconciliation.

Prior to his pivotal role in DDR, he dedicated years to the field of education, leaving an indelible mark as a teacher, Vice Principal, and Principal at esteemed institutions such as Government Bilingual High School (GBHS) Mbengwi and GBHS Ndop.

His passion for empowering youth through education was evident in his tireless efforts to create nurturing environments for learning.

Colleagues and community members remember Sixtus for his professional achievements.

His ability to bridge divides and foster understanding among diverse groups earned him the respect and admiration of all who had the privilege of working with him.

The DDR center in Bamenda, which he had headed, was one of three such centers created in Cameroon for repentant non-state armed group fighters.

Other centers exist in Buea, South West Region, and Mora, Far North Region, to accommodate repentant separatist fighters and Boko Haram militants, respectively.

Gabsa Sixtus was among the pioneer government officials who led these centres through a tough start in 2018.

His contribution to the peace building process in the North West will be remembered whenever the story of Cameroon’s disarmament centers is told.

©Mimi Mefo Info

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