Abuja pledges support to Yaounde over the secessionist threat.Cameroonian government forces have launched a crackdown and separatists have attacked troops and police, in spiralling violence that has prompted an estimated 30,000 Cameroonians to flee to neighbouring Nigeria.Nigeria on February 5th assured Cameroon that it was determined to deal with secessionist forces attempting to use its territory to destabilise its West African neighbour.The previous week, Nigeria extradited Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, leader of a Cameroonian anglophone separatist movement, and 46 of his supporters at Yaounde's request, sparking condemnation from the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR.But Nigeria's National Security Adviser Mohammed Monguno said at a trans‐border security meeting in Abuja that extradition was ordered to preserve Cameroon's unity and sovereignty.“President Muhammadu Buhari assures you that we will take all the necessary measures, within the ambit of the law, to ensure that Nigeria's territory is not used as a staging area to destabilise another friendly sovereign country,” Monguno told the meeting. He said both President Paul Biya and the entire people of Cameroon had Buhari's backing in finding a solution to the country's internal crisis.Monguno urged the Cameroonian authorities to engage in constructive dialogue to de‐escalate tensions in the anglophone regions and facilitate the return of Cameroonian refugees who have crossed the border into Nigeria.The UNHCR said most of the 47 sent back to Cameroon had submitted asylum claims in Nigeria. “Their forcible return is in violation of the principle of non‐refoulement, which constitutes the cornerstone of international refugee law,” it said in a statement. Non‐refoulement, a French term, is the practice of not forcing refugees or asylum‐seekers to go back to a country where they could be persecuted.Cameroon called the 47 “terrorists” and said they would “answer for their crimes”, as tensions mounted in the Southwest and Northwest Regions, home to most of the country's English speakers.Cameroon's Southwest and Northwest Regions are home to an anglophone minority that accounts for about a fifth of the country's population. Longstanding resentment at perceived discrimination by the francophone majority fed demands for greater autonomy, and then secession, in the face of the government's refusal for change (see p. 21758).Ayuk Tabe is leader of the self‐proclaimed republic of “Ambazonia” named after Ambas Bay on the Atlantic Ocean; it has no international recognition.On February 6th the United States (US) called on Cameroon to respect the rights of the extradited English‐speaking separatists. “The US condemns the ongoing violence in Cameroon's anglophone regions,” Heather Nauert, the US State Department's spokeswoman, tweeted. (© AFP 6/2 2018) Separatist leader detained p. 21709IN BRIEFChad – Sudan: Nine Sudanese people were reportedly killed in an alleged attack by a suspected Chadian tribal group on the border area between the two neighbours. The incident took place “when a tribal group, believed to have crossed the border from Chad, raided an area in Bayda in West Darfur State (western Sudan)”, Sudanese Al‐Taghyeer website reported (14/2). Ten others were injured and hundreds of cattle stolen, the pro‐opposition website said.Acts of violence break out from time to time on the Sudan‐Chad border area where dozens have reportedly been killed over the past few years due to armed clashes. The recent incident took place despite the large‐scale military deployment of joint forces. (Al‐Taghyir, Khartoum 14/2)DR Congo – Rwanda: Six Congolese soldiers were killed on February 14th in clashes to repel an incursion by Rwandan troops into Congolese territory, according to a statement published on the 16th by the commander of Sokola 2 operations in Nord Kivu, Gen Bruno Mandevu. They returned fire.Following the incident, the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM), a DR Congo‐based team of military experts from different countries in the region, launched investigations to establish the aggressors and motive behind their attack.The Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) argues that Congolese armed forces (FARDC) had violated Rwanda's territorial integrity and attacked its base.RDF officials also called for joint efforts to neutralise armed groups based in DR Congo such as FDLR, saying they remain a threat to regional security. (Radio Okapi, Kinshasa 17/2; New Times, Kigali 19/2)South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members serving in the DR Congo have been accused of assault and torture, its spokesperson said on February 11th. SANDF Chief, General Solly Shoke has instituted a formal investigation into the reports “in order to establish their veracity and take the necessary corrective actions against those involved”. (News24 11/2)Rwanda – Zambia: Zambian President Edgar Lungu has said his country will continue to partake in efforts aimed at bringing to book perpetrators of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. Lungu, who arrived in Rwanda on February 21st for a two‐day state visit, made these remarks following his visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Gisozi.Rwanda has to date issued warrants for 11 genocide fugitives believed to be holed up in the southern African nation and President Lungu told journalists that his government was committed to hunt them down to help ensure justice.Rwanda and Zambia recently finalised an extradition treaty. (New Times, Kigali 22/2)
Africa Research Bulletin: Political, Social and Cultural Series – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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