The former United Nations Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Côte d’Ivoire from October 2014 to August 2016, Dr Simon Munzu has frowned at the inactive nature of the national and international community towards the armed conflict in the northwest and southwest regions. He says these bodies including the UN and AU have the capacity to force the two parties to negotiate. What is therefore stopping them from doing so? he asked a rhetorical question.
“It has been two weeks since the senseless and gruesome murder and decapitation of a 35 years-old mother of four young children, Comfort Tamasang Afiri, in the town of Muyuka in the war-ravaged Anglophone Southwest region of Cameroon. The frenzy of general condemnation of the latest in a long line of horror killings of unarmed and defenceless civilians in the conflict between the Cameroon government’s military and armed separatist fighters appears to have dissipated. Cameroon government officials, politicians, civil society actors, religious leaders, foreign governments, international NGOs and international governmental organizations, including the United Nations and the African Union, that loudly condemned this barbaric act, and called for the prosecution and punishment of its heinous perpetrators, have gone silent, satisfied that they cleared their conscience.”
The recent killing of a woman in Muyuka subdivision, southwest region has ignited international but after condemning, all have gone back to their positions with no concrete action. Dr Munzu says more needs to be done.
“The Tamasang case was preceded by several similarly egregious killings of non-combatants, committed in three years of fighting, that also drew the same level of condemnation from the same quarters. We must now wait for the next victim and the next orgy of worldwide condemnation by the same actors! Isn’t it time that these national and international actors went beyond mere condemnation of the perpetrators, demands for justice, and expressions of compassion for the victims? Aren’t they in the best positions in the world to work in a concerted manner to pressure the protagonists in the senseless war raging in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon to end the fighting and its trail of death, destruction, and suffering and to return the afflicted regions to normalcy? What is making such concerted action so difficult? “
In the face of this complicit inaction on the part, especially, of international actors, the time has come for the people of the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon, living at home or in the diaspora, to take center stage in the search for a definitive solution to the armed conflict as well as the socio-political crisis that has been forced upon them, for which they are paying a heavy price.
As the immediate and direct victims of the armed conflict and its horrendous consequences, they should come together to discuss their plight and chart the way forward. If they cannot meet physically in Cameroon, they should meet virtually in an online conference or town hall meeting.
The suffering must end!
Munzu has extensive experience in political affairs, human rights, law, academia and management. Munzu joined the United Nations in 1995 as a volunteer after working for more than thirteen years in academia. He has held several high-level positions with the United Nations including Acting Head of the United Nations Human Rights Field Operation in Rwanda, Senior Policy Adviser with the United Nations Development Programme, Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Côte d’Ivoire and Director of Political Affairs in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.