By Dr. David Makongo
Dear Mr. President, the reason I chose to write you an open letter is because I’m not too sure posting a mail to the Presidency is still ideal considering your “End of Year Speech” was leaked to the public several hours before you could even address the nation. Before I state my main reason for writing you this letter, I want to thank all men and women in the “BIR” and other departments of the Cameroon forces who have shown great patriotism and respect of human rights in the execution of their difficult job. We will forever remain indebted in gratitude to this category of the Cameroonian armed forces.
Haven stated that, Your Excellency, my real reason for writing you this open letter is to put you on notice that President Trump could end US military support to the “BIR” in particular and the Government of Cameroon in General for gross violation of human rights and for none respect of the values America stands for and that America expects from a foreign military unit receiving funding from American tax payers.
Sir, many shocking videos shot by the BIR have surfaced showing the BIR heartlessly torturing, shooting and killing of fellow Cameroonians as if they were training with toys in a military drill. As a matter of fact, Sir, the atrocities being committed by your army in the English speaking part of the country where teachers, students, lawyers and protesting populations are being tortured, raped and killed for holding public protests authorized under the constitution are totally outlawed under American law if they must support your fight against terror.
Sir, I thought it would be of great interest for you to know that the LEAHY LAW prohibits the United States from providing equipment and training to a foreign military unit or individual violating human rights with impunity.
As a matter of fact, the LEAHY LAW prohibits the United States from providing equipment and training to a foreign military unit or individual. The BIR under your command, have exposed their guilt of acting with impunity for human rights violations such as torture, rape, excessive use of force against unarmed civilians and for engaging in a systematic practice of unlawfully detaining civilians, forced disappearances and extrajudicial killing of protesters with a different political opinion.
The specific violations of the BIR that could have serious implications right up to the Commander in-Chief include the torture of lawyers and students, rape of university students and killing of demonstrators in the English speaking part of the country staging public protests authorized under the Cameroonian constitution.
Sir, pictures and videos evidencing these atrocities of your army have gone viral to a point where these gross violations could have serious implications when Mr. Trump takes office next week because THE LEAHY LAW OBLIGATES THE STATE DEPARTMENT TO VET ANY FOREIGN MILITARY UNIT TO ENSURE IT HAS A CLEAN HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD BEFORE IT CAN RECEIVE U.S. ASSISTANCE. The vetting process covers official history of human rights abuse and independent reporting by authentic, genuine and legitimate NGOs. There is already a lot written by Amnesty International on gross violations of human rights by the BIR in the execution of the war against BOKO HARAM and the Leahy Law constrains the U.S. military from providing any kind of training or material support to foreign units such as the BIR accused of Gross human rights violations.
In 2013, after incorporating the BIR into the annual Silent Warrior exercise, U.S. troops taught the BIR the finer points of urban warfare. This training was meant to enhance the fight against terrorists and not to hunt down unarmed civilians and terrorize public protesters.
In 2015, the Defense Department allocated $15.9 million to the BIR to support their fight against Boko Haram and not to terrorize, shoot and kill public protesters.
The values of American armed forces the most respected force on the face of the planet don’t include unlawful breaking and entering into hostels and raping of female students.
The values of American armed forces men don’t include summary executions of unarmed peoples protesting within their constitutionally guaranteed rights like the BIR has shown under your command.
The values of American armed forces men don’t include the beating, torturing and breaking-entering into lawyers’ offices and seizing files and wigs without due process of the law. Without doubt the acts and atrocities committed by the BIR you command stand in stark contrast with everything America stands for and this could put American lives in danger.
Sir allow me the opportunity to tell you that before accepting to provide support to the BIR the American people (through the State Department) were placing bets on the idea that it would be better to fight terrorists abroad before they ever get a chance to cause untold mayhem like 9/11 on American soil. But the gross human rights violations of the BIR could make people turn against America and therefore, defeats the very purpose for which America decided to train and equip the BIR.
As a matter of law and principle, if the State Department concludes that helping the BIR with American tax payers money is no longer in the national economic or security interest of America, the US will momentarily stop all forms of military assistance to Cameroon.
Dear Mr. President, haven delivered the main message of this letter, permit me tell you another truth. I know that your closest collaborators have told you Anglophones are agitating because they want to remove you from power. No Sir. Anyone who gives you this kind of information is simply lying to you and therefore, not fit to serve you, Mr. President. I want you to know that Southern Cameroonians don’t want power they want freedom and complete independence from LRC.
Without any grain of doubt, I want you to understand that this position is shared by all the peoples of SC who have felt the pain of discrimination and pangs of marginalization by LRC for 55 years such that they have come to the sad conclusion that the marriage between LRC and Anglophone Cameroon has broken down irretrievably and would never be repaired. As a man of peace, I urge you not to brush this letter aside or try to fight the spirit for SC independence. If you dare Sir, you would be fighting the wrong fight and there will be bloodshed all over the country as Southern Cameroonians have made up their minds to be on their own after 55 years of deprivation and degradation of their peoples by LRC. Sincerely Sir, there is just nothing anyone can do anymore that would stop Anglophone Cameroonians from achieving their ultimate goal of freedom as an independent nation with internationally recognized boundaries demarcated by the UNO in 1961.
My last request therefore, to you Mr. President is to humbly ask you not to make any further attempt to continue fighting for “A ONE AND INDIVISIBLE CAMEROON” because words alone don’t unite people, but the “WILL OF THE PEOPLE” does. And it is the COLLECTIVE WILL of the people of Anglophone expression to now proclaim their independence granted them by the UNO in 1961. In the HIGHEST INTEREST OF PEACE, I beg you Mr. President to work with Southern Cameroonians to facilitate the reaffirmation and proclamation of the independence of State of Southern Cameroons no matter the degree of difficulty this could present!
Dr. David Makongo (Snr. International Negotiator and Legal Adviser)