Mass arrests of Anglophone Cameroon separatistsBy YUH TIMCHIA in Yaounde | Monday, October 1 2012 at 18:42
Security forces cracked down on an early morning church Mass in Buea in the southwest region of Cameroon where suspected separatists converged for the yearly commemoration of October 1.
This is a day which the separatists say the formerly British-administered southern Cameroon was denied the option of seceding in a referendum that united the English-speaking region with the former French territory in 1961.
In the days leading up to October 1, scores of other suspected secessionists were rounded up in English-speaking towns like Ekona, Mutenguene, Tiko, Mile 14 and Limbe.
Over 100 suspected activists were arrested in the Buea sweep, including the vice-chairman of the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC), Mr Nfor Ngalla Nfor, Catholic catechist Marguerite
Ngalla, local journalist and activist Martin Fon Yembe and his Nigerian counterpart Bashiru Ebua.
The vice-chairman of another separatist movement, the Southern Cameroons Peoples Organisation (SCAPO), Mr Augustine Ndangam, was arrested on Sunday in the north-west region before he could board a bus for the commemoration in Buea.
Tight police measures deterred them from holding any public demonstrations this year, the reason why they resorted to turning to houses of prayer.
Unconfirmed reports said the southern Cameroon flag was hoisted early Monday at Ayato, near the Mungo Bridge that separates the French speaking and English speaking parts of the country.
Created in 1995, SCNC calls for the independence of their territory. Together with several other movements with a similar agenda, they complain Anglophone Cameroonians were being relegated to the fringes of the 50-year-old union by Yaoundé authorities.
The separatist agenda is widely accepted in the English-speaking Southwest and Northwest regions.
However, it is met with hostility by the Anglophone elite who are accused of having abusing their proximity to President Paul Biya.
The government has outlawed the SCNC and its sister movements, on account that there were no problems peculiar to Aglophone Cameroon.
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