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As Gov’t Inertia Persists: American, French Embassies Seek Solutions To Anglophone Crisis 

By Joe Dinga Pefok

The American and French diplomatic missions in Cameroon have begun seeking for ways to nib the escalating Anglophone Crisis in the bud.
Even though both diplomatic missions have been silent on their recent resolve to finding solutions to end the Anglophone Crisis, political commentators are unanimous that the involvement of these friends of Cameroon is an indication that the diplomatic missions are not only concerned with the escalating nature of the Anglophone Crisis, but they are also concerned with the manner in which the Biya Government has been handling the Crisis.

Also, the decision by the US and French Embassies to encourage dialogue in an attempt to seek solutions to the Anglophone Crisis, instead of the use of force is a clear indication that the two countries do not buy the claims that the Anglophone activists are terrorists.

In fact, a senior French diplomat from the French Embassy in Yaounde who was in Bamenda last week, did not only dismissed a spurious rumour that some French military officers were assisting the Cameroon military in the fight against secessionists in the Northwest and Southwest Regions, but he also made it clear that France considers the ongoing conflict in Cameroon as an internal matter and so cannot involve the French soldiers.

Yaounde Meeting
In the last edition of The Post, we reported that the US Ambassador to Cameroon, HE Peter Henry Barlerin, recently invited some distinguished civil society leaders, the clergy and the representatives of some political parties and human rights organisations to a roundtable discussion at the US Embassy in Yaounde.
The meeting was meant for participants to share views and propose ways of solving the Anglophone Crisis.
Those invited to the conference were: Christian Cardinal Tumi, Gregoire Owona, Prof. Maurice Kamto and Barrister Felix Agbor Balla among others.

French Diplomat In Bamenda
Meanwhile, on April 2 to 6, a senior French diplomat, Philippe Lario, Special Adviser at the French Embassy in Yaounde, was in Bamenda, where he held consultative talks with clergymen, members of the civil society and human rights organisations,
The consultative meeting was to seek ways on how to end the escalating Anglophone Crisis.
The French diplomat who spoke to Equinoxe Radio in Douala did not disclose the names of the personalities he met, but mentioned for example the meeting with Catholic clergymen.

However, a source disclosed that the clergymen included the Archbishop of Bamenda, Mgr. Cornelius Fontem Esua, the Auxiliary Bishop of Bamenda, Mgr. Michael Bibi, among others.
The French diplomat also met with other persons based in Bamenda and the leaders of the other main stream Churches in Anglophone Cameroon (the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon PCC, and the Cameron Baptist Convention, CBC.)
The Moderator of the PCC, Rt. Rev Fonki Samuel Forba is based in Buea, while the Executive President of the CBC, Rev Godwill Ncham Chiatoh, is based in Ndu, where the CBC runs a theological seminary.
It would be recalled that the Bishops of the Bamenda Provincial Episcopal Conference, BAPEC, have since the escalation of the Anglophone Crisis, written to the Government a number of times, tracing the causes of the Crisis, proposing solutions and at times objectively criticising Government’s poor handling of the Crisis.

But unfortunately, the BAPEC Bishops were accused of supporting secession and Archbishop Cornelius Fontem Esua, Mgrs. George Nkuo, Immanuel Bushu, Andrew Founya Nkea Agapitus Nfon and Michael Bibi, were dragged to court.
Meantime, the US Ambassador and the French diplomat who met in Yaounde and Bamenda respectively, are a sharp contrast to members of the Biya Government, who have been wasting State resources under the guise of looking for solutions to the Anglophone Crisis.

Apologists of the regime like Philemon Yang, Peter Mafany Musonge and Paul Atanga Nji among others have on different occasions, led delegations to the field to discuss the Anglophone Crisis.
But most often, the aforementioned CPDM barons preferred to meet only people who will tell them what they like to hear.
Such persons include: money-minded and politically- partisan Fons and Chiefs, who have since lost the respect of their subjects because of their unbridled quest for money.

Others include local CPDM militants, who are scared of speaking the truth for fear of being tagged as secessionists or opposition, some Anglophone Teachers’ Trade Unions leaders, who have become professional ‘gombo grabbers’, hired leaders of biker riders unions among others.

The CPDM elite have avoided meetings with clergymen, genuine civil society organisations, human rights organisations and opposition parties that would insist on honesty and stating hard facts that can expedite the peace process.
However, with the calibre of persons the US and French diplomats met with in Yaounde and Bamenda respectively, it is clear that both the US and French Embassies in Cameroon have been closely monitoring developments in the Anglophone Crisis since it started in 2016.

They have also been taking note of Cameroonian patriots, who have been making objective, rational, realistic and concrete proposals on how the crisis can be resolved.

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