H E Roelf Meyer

HE Roelf Meyer: Lessons From Apartheid South Africa For Anglophone Conflict Resolution

Cameroon can tap from how South Africa resolved its apartheid conflict to solve the current crises especially the Anglophone conflict.

The Anglophone crisis that started in 2016, is trailing humanitarian, socio-political, economic and cultural scars.

Recent statistics show that more than 4000 people have died, about 75,000 refugees are in Nigeria and about 750,000 internally displaced persons within the country.

HE Roelf Meyer, Minister of Constitutional Development under Presidents Federick de Klerk and Nelson Mandela, Chief Negotiator for the National Party Government to end apartheid in South Africa has this to say about the Anglophone crisis. “We have learnt that there is on-going conflict and killing of people on a weekly basis, the crisis is not stopping, rather escalating and that is a big concern for us and for the people of Cameroon.”

However, he stresses that everybody should focus on what should be done to bring the conflict to an end.

The man with a mission to broker peace around the world maintains that there is no conflict that cannot be resolved. He highlighted three key issues which South Africa, 30 thirty years ago did, that could be helpful for Cameroon.

“To have an inclusive approach; build trust across the divides and take the responsibility to look for peace within and not wait for other to do it”.

If these basic principles are in place, Cameroon can also address its conflict (s) successfully, Meyer emphasized.

Meyer and his delegation are on a mission to inspire the Cameroonian people to find their own solutions to the Anglophone conflict.

In his talk on the theme, “Sharing Experiences in Negotiation, Mediation and Peaceful Resolution of Conflicts,” he emphasized to students of the Heritage Higher Institute of Peace and Development Studies that each conflict is unique and has to be respected as such.

HE Roelf Meyer and officials of the Higher Institute for Peace and Development Studies

Taking students down apartheid (-a white regime) history lane, he said it started longer than quoted, right from the first white settlers that set foot on African soil and later became institutionalized. This white segregation finally ended in 1994, replaced with democracy and Nelson Mandela the first president.

The fight against apartheid started as a non-violent conflict, and it was not until the 1960s that the African National Congress, ANC party started a military wing to fight apartheid. A similar situation with the Anglophone crisis that started peacefully.

Meyer who has brokered a score of peace deals talked of how the late Nelson Mandela offered exceptional friendship to the whites in South Africa. “The white people put him in jail for twenty-seven years, yet he came out and showed generosity.”

Going by the peace crusader, the starting point of any conflict resolution lies in the willingness of the people to talk to each other, to establish dialogue.

Analyzing what dialogue means, he said, it can actually start with two people, one on one, then to groups of people meeting each other, discussing and dialoguing.

In the case of South Africa, “talks started at a couvert level, not in the public space by intelligence unit. We knew the conflict could not be solved through military or security means and talks with Nelson Mandela started while he was in prison.”

Meyer maintained that there might be a window of opportunity, and Cameroon should ready to use it, or it might slip off as has happened with some conflicts which have dragged on.The reality he said, is that negotiations should be with people with divergent views.

Going by him, “when there is a complete breakdown in negotiations, it is because people do not share the same vision for the future. It is only possible to find a common vision, if people sit and talk about it. And once the vision is there, then the details can be worked out.”, he stressed.

He also posited that the youths should be given the opportunity to come forward to exercise their capabilities, taking an example with himself in his 40s negotiating peace in South Africa.

“The past is important but not the vision for the future, concentrate on the future. The South African solution which Cameroon can tap from is to draft a new constitution as South Africa did,” he concluded.

Prof. Willibroad Dze-Ngwa, Director of the Higher Institute of Peace and Development Studies organized the talks for students of Peace and Conflict Studies on April 20.

kumba students killed 1

Kumba Killings: Buea Military Court Sentences Accused To Execution By Firing Squad

The Buea Military Tribunal has today , September 7, sentenced four accused persons of orchestrating the Kumba killings to execution by firing squad.

On October 24, gunmen killed seven school children of the Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy in Kumba Southwest region.

Following arrests, four people were standing trial at the Buea Military Tribunal, on charges of acts of terrorism, hostility against the father land, secession, Insurrection, murder and illegal possession of firearms and ammunitions.

They have ten days to appeal the case.

Killed Kumba students

Timeline of Kumba Killings

  • October 24: Shooting, families grieved as dead bodies of their children were taken to the mortuary, Doctors Without Borders treated the wounded
  • October 25 : Rene Emmanuel Sadi, Government spokes person accused separatists of carrying out the school attack
  • October 26: Prime Minister, Joseph Dion Ngute announced a condolence mission to families of the deceased children
  • October 27: Women marched in Yaounde decrying the Kumba killings, calling for an end to the Anglophone crisis
  • October 27: President Biya condemned the Kumba killings, ordered investigations, promised punishment to the killers
  • October 27: Three ministers, territorial administration, basic and secondary education visited families in Kumba with condolence messages
  • Bamenda women marched to the governor’s officers to say they are tired of the killings
  • October 28: Samuel Ikome Sako separatist led group gave reasons they have no hand in the kumba killings and blamed government
  • October 28: Pope Francis said the killings in Kumba should never happen again
  • October 28: President Biya decreed national mourning day
  • October 28: Government said separatists killed the students and they were in search of ten suspects.
  • November 5: Burial of Kumba students
WhatsApp Image 2021-08-22 at 3.49.11 PM

Murder In The Church: Christian Dead, Pastor Shot

By Etienne Mainimo


A woman identified as a hairdresser in Bali, Northwest Region of Cameroon whose name we are yet to confirm has been killed.

According to an eye witnesses account, the attack was carried out by ‘suspected government forces’ on Sunday August 22.

The pastor of Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, PCC Ntanfoang was shot in the hand.

Even though Cameroonfactfinder is still following up the updates, report say, bullets were sprayed in the direction of the church, during the traditional Sunday worship.

Several Christians of the congregation are in a still of fear and shock and all of them declined to talked to this reporter.

Bali has recently been under heavy tension after five police officers were murdered in an ambush by suspected separatist fighters

The attack prompted the SDO of the area to ban the circulation of motor bikes in Bali Nyonga sub-division for a period of three months renewable.

Separatists on their part banned cars from circulating in Bali.

MSF Northwest

Patients Helpless As DWB Quits Northwest Cameroon After 8 Months Suspension

By Etienne Mainimo

Patients and victims of the ongoing conflict in Anglophone regions are helpless as Doctors Without Borders, an International Humanitarian Medical Non-Governmental Organization, NGO says they are leaving the crisis hit Northwest Region of Cameroon.

According to the NGO’s operations coordinator of Central Africa, Emmanuel Lampaert, they cannot longer stay any longer in a region where they are not allowed to provide health care to the people.

“We cannot stay any longer in a region where we are not allowed to provide care to people here. Unfortunately, we cannot keep our staff on standby any longer, so we have no choice but to withdraw our teams.

However, we will keep a small liaison office in Bamenda, the regional capital to continue our dialogue with the authorities,” Emmanuel Lampaert said.

Going by Doctors Without Borders, they are withdrawing their team following government suspension of their activities from the region after a series of allegations accusing them of supporting local armed groups.

Despite categorically rejecting of the accusations and following countless months of exchanges, Cameroonian authorities refused to grant the NGO the opportunity to resume its medical activities.

“This suspension significantly reduces access to medical services in an area where communities are badly affected by armed violence. We hope that the provision of medical humanitarian assistance to everyone, without distinction, will still be possible. The people are paying a very heavy price for this situation. If the authorities decide to lift our suspension, we will resume our medical activities as soon as possible,” Lampaert further said.

To him, “It is essential that other organizations step in to provide additional support to the Ministry of Health to ensure the provision of care for vulnerable people. This must be done with absolute respect for health facilities, staff and patients.”

DWB attending to a patient

Before suspending their activities on December 8, 2020, Doctors Without Borders was accuse by government for supporting local armed groups.

Responding, the NGO in a statement said, they categorically reject the allegations of having provided support for separatist fighters in the North-West.

They affirmed that, “We have never facilitated the transport of arms, ammunition or armed combatants, and have never provided logistical or financial support to any of the parties to the ongoing crisis. In Cameroon as everywhere else in the world, we operate in the strictest respect of our charter, which requires us to act in a framework of total independence, neutrality and impartiality and to apply a policy of zero tolerance for the presence of weapons in the structures and vehicles we support and maintain.”

Having reiterated our call, as expressed in our in a press release of June22, that the suspension of activities be lifted in the North-West in view of its impact on local communities, government didn’t react.

Since 2018, Doctors Without Borders have provided free emergency medical care and ambulance services in the North-West region. The NGO has been one of the few international NGOs that is offering free medical care to communities in the North-West region, and managed the only 24/7 free ambulance service in the area.

Each year, tens of thousands of patients benefited from its support in a region where access to care has been significantly reduced by armed violence.

For four years, the crisis has displaced hundreds of thousands of people and left many healthcare facilities dysfunctional. Many people are struggling to access the remaining open healthcare facilities due to financial, security and geographic constraints.

In 2020, until the suspension of its operations, the teams in the North-West region treated 180 survivors of sexual violence, provided 1,725 mental health consultations, performed 3,272 surgeries, and transported 4,407 patients by ambulance, more than 1,000 of whom were women about to give birth.

Ma Agbor

Women’s Peace Convention: After Surviving An Armed Attack, Victim Begs For Peace

My appeal is for government, international NGO’s, those in the bush and the diaspora, to join forces to end the crisis.  

Caroline Agbor in her late forties, a single parent of five, with a half hand as a result of the crisis, more than five scars, untold trauma, has a reason to beg for peace.

Former headmistress, nursery school teacher in Mamfe in the Southwest region of Cameroon is a victim of the ongoing crisis in the Northwest and Southwest regions.

March 16, 2019, is the day her life took a nose dive.

“We were sitting in-front of the house with neighbours, four armed men came and ordered us to get into the house”.

Ma Agbor said when she got up to enter the house and one of them followed her, asked her to support the ‘struggle’ with money for bullets.

“When I gave all I had, FCFA 30,000, he said it was not enough. He insisted I follow him out of the house. He stressed that I should go and explain to their senior that i would give the money”.

Then, five meters from Ma Agbor house, they met the rest of the armed group.

 

They said, “You are a teacher, you teachers started the crisis in Cameroon. Now you don’t have enough money to support us, you have to exchange your life for money”.

“I lay flat on my stomach as I was told, but, placed my two hands on my neck”.

“He took up the machete, I just started meditating and as he was about to hack off my head I defended with my hand and he chopped it off”.

“Unconscious, like coming out of a deep sleep, he hit the hand again and I got up”.

When the youths the neighbour called for youths to rescue me approached, he ran, Ma Agbor recounted.

 Ma Agbor’s luck was that her house was close to the seminar where they first took her and the Rev. father transported her to the hospital in Mamfe.

In the car and later in the hospital, Agbor realised she had multiple wounds from the lumps of blood.

“I had a wound on my ear and back had about five wounds, the veins in three fingers cut and the elbow”.

My appeal is for government, international NGO’s, those in the bush and the diaspora, to join forces to end the crisis.  

The Anglophone crisis on going for four years, has caused huge damage to lives and property and the destruction according to Amnesty International is enormous.

“Like a woman, i cry for help, join us let us attain peace in Cameroon. We are suffering”, she said.

About 1000 women like Agbor have converged on Yaoundé to join their voices to others, to drum the need for peace.  

Government in 2020 initiated the national dialogue but implementation of the recommendations has been slow, while the crisis lingers.