By Fortune Abang
Abuja, May 10, 2023
The Southern Cameroon has appealed to the United Nations (UN) to intervene and ensure a sustainable resolution of the lingering issues bothering on the sovereignty of the region.
Dr Samuel Ikome Sako, Leader of the Interim Government of Southern Cameroon, made the appeal on Wednesday at the second global news conference on issues affecting the region.
Sako, who decried the six years long war in the region, which was formally known as Ambazonia, urged the international community, represented by the UN to focus on addressing the lingering issue of unaddressed long-standing grievances.
He said the grievances had persisted since the colonial era; therefore, there was the need for urgent intervention to bring about lasting peace.
According to him, the UN after having recognised Southern Cameroon’s sovereignty did not give a referendum, rather they gave the Peoples of Southern Cameroon a plebiscite.
“A plebiscite is consultation of opinion, not a referendum; it was not law. If the UN thought we were not autonomous but a tiny part of La République du Cameroun, they would have given us a referendum.
“Plebiscite presupposes that we are two different people seeking to establish our sovereignty. If the UN wants to serve majority opinion on this issue, they should conduct another non-binding Plebiscite in Southern Cameroon, not a Referendum.
“This is the threshold position of the people we represent; therefore, any proposal that seeks to mask the status quo of Southern Cameroon colonial status under the Republic of Cameroon is far reaching.
“It does not represent the aspirations of the overwhelming majority of Ambazonians, as far as this liberation struggle is concerned.
“The way forward to end this conflict supported by the International Community/external stakeholders is, a genuine all-inclusive dialogue/mediated negotiation process.”
Sako, reiterated that after several advocacy to ensure the process that was spearheaded by the Swiss was peaceful, the Republic of Cameroon failed to commit to peaceful resolution.
“Also to resolve conflict and issue of the sovereignty of Southern Cameroon once and for all, another Plebiscite, preceded by Internationally Mediated Negotiations would be the right steps forward.
“We peacefully requested for reforms primarily in the education and judicial sectors, the colonial government’s response was brutal. Several protesters were arrested and detained.
“By early 2017, the peaceful agitations morphed into an armed conflict; an existential conflict for us, given that we have the duty to ensure our existence within the community of nations of the world.
“The Republic of Cameroon’s President, Paul Biya had labeled us “terrorists” and a disinclined inclusive mechanism to end the war.
According to him, “awarding us special status will be a way out of the carnage.
“The Republic of Cameroon boycotted the Swiss-led Mediation after pretending to be a party for over two years. Our people remain victims.
“La Republique du Cameroun’s forces of occupation continued indiscriminate arrests, killings, torture of civilians and razing/burning down whole villages,” he said.
He added that impunity remained the order of the day, which encouraged the abusers fueling further violence and harm, and prolonging the conflict.
“We are not fighting to change the form of government in the Republic of Cameroon; we are not also fighting for constitutional changes within the Republic of Cameroon – French Cameroon.
“We are fighting against annexation, we are defending our restored independence; annexation cannot be resolved through a referendum, because it is either a right or wrong issue.
“Just as the solution of rape is not marriage, we do not need a referendum to tell right from wrong, we need the international justice system or a negotiated settlement,” the leader of the Interim Government further said.