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United Nations Finally Wades Into Anglophone Crisis 

  • Orders Release Of All Arrested Persons, Internet Reinstatement
  • Describes Situation In NW,SW As Deplorable
  • Says UN Cannot Interfere On Federalism
  • Recommends Speedy Implementation Of Gov’t Promises

The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa, UNOCA, François Louncérny Fall, has called on the Government to release all those detained in relation to the ongoing Anglophone crisis.

He made the statement in a press conference in Yaounde on Wednesday, April 12.

The senior diplomat visited Cameroon to discuss three pertinent issues notably; the situation of the detainees, the suspension of the internet services in the two Anglophone Regions and the implementation of the recently announced measures by the Government towards addressing the crisis.

Prior to the press conference, he had met with the Prime Minister, Philemon Yang, the Minister of External Relations, Lejeune Mbella Mbella, and other Government officials whom he reportedly advised to release those in detention as a way forward.

He described the situation in both Regions as deplorable, given that, the inhabitants live in fear and have no access to internet connectivity to run their affairs.

Fall is calling on the release of the detainees after having met with them at their detention areas and discussed with their lawyers. “I had the opportunity to  meet with some of the persons held in detention in relation to the ongoing crisis in the Northwest and Southwest Regions, notably Barrister Felix Nkongho Agbor Balla and Mancho Bibixy. They gave me fundamental information and I can assure you that the United Nations is following up with particular attention,” he stated.

It is also reported that the UN official has been notified on the poor and unhealthy conditions under which individuals are detained in different prisons.

With regards to the internet shutdown in the Anglophone Regions since January, Fall said he encouraged the Government to reinstate the internet given the negative effects it is having on the image of the Government. “I encouraged the Government to reinstate the internet and they assured me that they are going to do so in the near future. I therefore hope that those in the affected Regions will soon enjoy their rights to internet connectivity,” he said.

Quizzed on why the UN has since not intervened on the political form of the State, given that, there is no union treaty at the UN to justify the union, he responded in a rather tactical manner. “The United Nations is not a direct advocate of the internal political matters of the State or matters patterning to the form of the State or a nation. Cameroon is a sovereign State and therefore the UN can only give advise on the necessary measures to be adopted relating to the peaceful negotiations. The form of the State is a purely a political affair which should be handled by the National Assembly and other politicians. There is therefore the need to respect the Constitution of Cameroon and other international treaties to which Cameroon is a party, ” he stated.

Being versed with politics and mediation processes, he urged the Government to speed up the implementation process of the measures announced by Government on March 30, through the Justice Minister relating to the grievances of the lawyers and the teachers.  

He further called on the Government to build confidence in the citizens through a sincere and constructive dialogue.

The diplomat concluded by expressing the availability of the UN to continue to contribute in efforts made by authorities and their partners geared toward looking for consensual solutions to the crisis.

Going by him, findings from across the belligerents indicate that all parties are ready for a peaceful negotiation for the paramount interest of the State.   

Meanwhile, Fall who was appointed by the UN Scribe on February 21, 2017, as his Special Representative in Central Africa, was Vice Chairman of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission of the South Sudan Peace Agreement. The Guinean national has held several senior positions in Government notably; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prime Minister and Secretary General of the Presidency. 

By Eulalia Amabo Nchang & Sylvester Atemnkeng