Representatives of the Anglophone community in Cameroon, where decades of political and cultural frustration has simmered to the surface in recent months, have called for a new general strike on Monday and Tuesday.
The appeal for a “ghost town” action to shut down activity in schools, shops and streets follows another round of violence in Bamenda, where four people were shot and severely wounded by security forces early Saturday, the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium said in a press statement.
The consortium was in Bamenda on Friday for negotiations with regional government officials that extended into the evening; its leaders expressed outrage at what they called the hypocrisy of a government pretending to commit to dialogue while concurrently engaged in the use of lethal force.
The consortium’s report of the shootings follows months of violent protests and arrests in Bamenda, Buea, Limbe and other cities where lawyers, teachers and the citizen activists joining them have pressed for reforms in the French-speaking nation.
What began as protests evolved into boycotts of the courtrooms and classrooms; doctors and health professionals now are expected to join the strike on Monday.
The cultural rift goes beyond language to encompass the political, economic and social inequalities Anglophones say they experience under President Paul Biya, who has been in power for more than three decades.
In Cameroon, those tensions have at times led to regional calls for secession. The consortium is again calling for a two-state federation, and asking people to “peacefully resist the sadistic military regime which has continued unabated for half a century.”
The consortium and its affiliated or aligned groups also demand the release of Cameroonian youth who have been detained since the new round of protests began in October.
Image: Cameroon Common Law Lawyers Association/File