After over five years of warfare, separatist fighters in Cameroon and the government are set to concert for a lasting solution to their armed conflict. The decision was brought to the fore by Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Melanie Joly.
“Canada welcomes the agreement by the parties to enter a process to reach a comprehensive, peaceful and political resolution of the conflict,” she stated, adding that “the parties have also agreed to form technical committees to begin work on confidence-building measures.”
The decision to formally commit to a common solution to the armed conflict, the Foreign Affairs minister said, is set to make the future of those concerned, safer, more inclusive and prosperous.
Canada in this regard, she went on, is proud of “… all parties for engaging in substantive dialogue. We encourage all stakeholders to support and work with the parties to advance and contribute to an inclusive process to reach a lasting and sustainable political settlement.”
Many rights defenders, activists and politicians have welcomed the decision, noting that it places the interest of the population at heart. Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor of the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa described it as a “good move for lasting peace”, and urged other separatist factions to toe the line.
While the decision is set to bring much relief and possibly a long-term solution, not all parties are vested in it.
The parties to the agreement, according to Minister Melanie Joly, are the Republic of Cameroon, the Ambazonia Governing Council and the Ambazonia Defence Force, the African People’s Liberation Movement and the Southern Cameroons Defence Force, the Interim Government, and the Ambazonia Coalition Team.
She further encouraged other separatist factions to join the process, in a bid to eradicate the suffering civilians are going through due to the armed conflict.
“Civilians,” she recalled, “are bearing the brunt of the ongoing crisis in Cameroon, with more than 6,000 people having lost their lives since 2017. In addition, nearly 800,000 people have been displaced as a result of this crisis, and 600,000 children do not have full access to education.”
At the moment, very little more is known about the peace process, how it will unfold and who the actors would be. This too, is as the Cameroon government is yet to make any official declaration on the development.
The Canadian-led dialogue is not the first of its kind reported to end the Anglophone crisis. It however, is peculiar in that it is the first time so many separatist factions and government are openly aligning to the common goal of dialogue and concerted action.
The decision to accept Canada as a mediator no longer comes to many as major surprise. This, is after recent efforts by the Cameroon government to cajole the USA which was believed to be more suitable for the role.
Over the past month, the USA arrested, detained and charged a number of Cameroonian-borns for their role in the armed conflict.
It also received at the US-AFRICA Leaders Summit, President Paul Biya who is believed to have visited the country to drum up support against diaspora separatist supporters fueling and sponsoring the war back home.
Poise News Desk