Ex- Separatists fighters: In Bondage or Freedom

Ex- Separatists fighters: In Bondage or Freedom

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ex-separatist fighters in Buea

The Cameroon government in 2018 created the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration center (DDR Centers) with the aim of re integrating ex separatists fighters back into normal life. The moved which was received with mixed feelings amongst Cameroonians has centers in Bamenda and Buea, the capitals of both Northwest and Southwest respectively. The DDR Centers have over the years been receiving surrendered separatists fighters. However in 2020 about 130 ex- fighters escaped the DDR centers with claims of ill treatment, poor facilities and shortage of some basic necessities. In the midst of these ciaos, General Nka Valery had promised to kill any ex-combatant who takes up arms again.

Recently there have been a series of protest by all centers in the Anglophone regions with the most recent being that of March 19th 2021 were both centers staged protests because of failed promises made by the Prime ministers envoy in the month of February when they staged another protest. According to the ex-combatants in Bamenda they have been patiently waiting for reintegration back into the society as they were promised.  In the prime ministers envoys’ message in February, he said “We have come in a delegation made up of the prime mister’s office and other four ministries……… “To get you recruited when you leave this place”. Surprisingly one month after, and all promises are not met.

In Buea, the disgruntled protesters blocked the road along Long Street – Bokwoango, the Secretary General at the Governor’s office Dr Mohamadou, told the protesters that, “he is coming along with a very important message for you, so you have to be patient and wait for him. He is coming in line with what you are saying now. He is coming with a message… the National Coordinator himself”. The ex-combatants say “We are angry because we have been here for too long. Some of us have children and families. Our families have been estranged from us. We have been here for too long such that our children cannot recognize us again. They address us as ‘uncle, uncle, uncle’ when we meet them,”

laying the foundation stone of the DDR Center in Tiko

Fake Promises

The continuous protest staged by the ex-combatants of the Anglophone Crisis has been able to instill some negative thoughts and sentiments in the minds of many by terming the promises made by government officials as being a lie. The level of non-fulfillment of these promises has put a toll of disbelief on potential separatist’s fighters who wish to drop their arms.

It is worth noting that, on the 20th of March Fai Yengo Lays Foundation for SW DDR Centre in Tiko. The construction is said to have a budget of FCFA 1.5billion financed by the Head of State Paul Biya.

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