Washington, 17 January 2017 – The Movement for the Restoration of the Independence of Southern Cameroons (MoRISC) condemns, in the strongest terms, the banning of the Consortium and SCNC (Southern Cameroons National Council) as well as the abduction of four of their leaders, Barrister Felix Nkongho Agbor Balla, Fontem Neba, Karh Chia Afumbom and Michael Boyo.
Today’s ban and abductions add to a long line of repressive measures taken by the colonialists in Yaounde in a desperate attempt to maintain the annexationist grip of La Republique du Cameroun (independent on 1st January 1960) on Southern Cameroons (independent on 1st October 1961).
The ban and abductions are intended to criminalize political opinion, to stifle free speech, to subvert, intimidate and silence the voice of an overwhelming majority of Southern Cameroonians calling for an end to colonial rule from Yaounde. Southern Cameroonians have used a combination of strike action, civil disobedience, peaceful street protests and ghost town operations to reaffirm their constitutional right to freedom of assembly as well as their right to self-determination as a people, different from the people of La Republique du Cameroon.
Today’s abductions, airlifting to and detention in Yaounde mirror a pattern of state terrorism. Similar to Boko Haram terrorists, the government of La Republique du Cameroun has specialized, since early December 2016, in taking citizens of Southern Cameroons hostage. The regime has used abductees as chips in negotiations aimed, for example, at convincing teachers, lawyers and leaders of the Consortium to lift months of industrial action which have paralyzed courts and prevented schools from resuming for the second term.
MoRISC reiterates its call for the immediate and unconditional release of the leaders abducted today; and the release of other abductees and hostages taken from the towns of Bamenda, Buea, Kumba, Limbe, Ekona and held in prisons and camps in La Republique du Cameroun. MoRISC reminds Yaounde of its obligations under international law to end abductions, hostage-taking, illegal detention and torture; to prevent the use of rape, maiming, extrajudicial killings, and “disappearances” as weapons of autocratic rule. MoRISC calls on Yaounde to lift the ban on the Consortium and SCNC; it calls on the government to protect the right of citizens to use peaceful protests to communicate legitimate grievances and reminds the regime in Yaounde that colonization constitutes a crime against humanity.
MoRISC reiterates its commitment to use all peaceful and legal means to restore the independence of Southern Cameroons come 1st October 2017. MoRISC urges all Southern Cameroonians to remain peaceful and non-violent; to keep their eye on the ultimate prize: freedom and total independence and to remain just as steadfast as South Africans did during the ban of the ANC by the Apartheid regime. MoRISC is alarmed by the indifference shown by the international community as La Republique du Cameroun prepares to perpetrate genocide in Southern Cameroons. MoRISC calls on the colonialists from Yaounde to cease the provocation of Southern Cameroonians, to withdraw their occupation forces and end the militarization of Southern Cameroons.
Finally, MoRISC calls on the African Union and the United Nations to recognize and uphold the right of the people of Southern Cameroons to self-determination under Articles 6, 7, 9, 10, 11 and 20 of the African Charter as well as to uphold the equality of Southern Cameroons to La Republique du Cameroun and the right of the former to separate from the latter under United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1541 (XV) Principles VII and VIII of the 15th of December 1960.
Elvis Kometa, MoRISC Acting Chair