Friday, 2 December 2016

Teachers Reply PM : Indefinite Strike Continues, Demands Increase

The All Anglophone Teacher Unions, have announced a continuation of the indefinite strike action, make further demands.

In a strong worded reply to the Prime Ministerial Orders, after a meeting in Bamenda, December 2, 2016, the trade unions said, the PM’s document was not legally binding, had no time frame for implementation and sounded more like one of the Cameroon government’s broken promises.

The teachers are accusing government of treating everything Anglophone with disdain, citing the brutality on peacefully protesting University of Buea Students. They are demanding the immediate and unconditional release of all detained students and the demilitarisation of the Molyko Buea Campus as preconditions.


Thursday, 1 December 2016

Gov’t Recruits, Disburses 2 Billion FCFA To Kill Teachers’ Strike... Unions React

In what is being considered  as a desperate attempt to put a definite end to the strike action by Teachers Trade Unions, the Prime Minister and Head of the Cameroon government has announced the recruitment of teachers and the disbursement of funds.

A statement from the PM’s office dated November 30 2016 announces the recruitment of some 1000 bilingual teachers.

The statement did not precise what it meant by ‘bilingual teachers.’
The  teachers to be recruited according to the PM's statement, must have a scientific and technical academic background and would  be transferred to regions witnessing shortage in the domain.

The same release signed by PM Yang Philemon announced the disbursement of the sum of 2 billion FCFA for lay private, nondenominational  and professional institutions.

The statement did not say how soon the recruitment process would start and did not precise any eligibility criteria.

“ All the Trade Unions would be meeting tomorrow (December 2 2016)  to make and official statement. I can quickly say the PM kept his word and one of the important conditions was the putting in place a commission taking into consideration our proposals. 

The special recruitment to fill in the gap  for teachers, the subvention to lay private and denominational schools are the issues to be looked into by the ad hoc commission. The strike has not been definitely called off. 

The strike may be suspended because work is in progress. But where there is a breach, we would not let go,” the President of the Presbyterian Education Authority Teacher’s Trade Union, Afu Stephen said.

It remains unclear how soon the ad hoc commission would begin work.

United Support for Peace (NGO) To Pay Hosp Bills for Injured UB Students

An international NGO, United Support for Peace, USP, has offered to pay the hospital bills of University of Buea Students, who were tortured and wounded during the strike action of November 28 2016.

The founder and President of the NGO, Dr  Njie David Makongo in a statement December 1 2016, said a team of volunteers from  USP would be visiting hospitals as from Monday December 5 to pay the  bills and support those in need of immediate assistance.

Dr  Makongo said USP would be footing the bills of the students to the tune of 1.000.000 million frs CFA, (some $2000).
On the modalities for assistance the statement further read “A help phone line will be posted on facebook to enable victims reach USP volunteers on the ground for immediate assistance. »

USD officials describe the gesture as its own way of promoting peace and protect the helpless in our communities and announced that its team of volunteers from the USA and South Africa would be visiting Cameroon in the months ahead to asses the level of implementation of its humanitarian efforts. 

« Our appeal to the Cameroon government is to facilitate work for our team of volunteers who would be visiting hospitals to comfort the victims and pay their hospital bills. We remain within the confines of our humanitarian mission that of providing  relief and support to the students, lawyers, teachers and others who may be in dire need of assistance,  » the USP statement further read.

The international NGO also condemned the torturing of University of Buea students and  lawyers by what it described as lawless and overzealous security forces, who prevent Cameroonians from holding peaceful demonstration protected under the Cameroonian constitution.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Exclusive: UB Student Allegedly Raped is Not Dead, to Undergo Head Scan - Elder Sister Speaks

The University of Buea student who was beaten by security forces on November 28 and rumoured dead is still alive. In an exclusive interview, her elder sister, Loveline Womila, recounts how she met her injured younger one at her La Falaise Mini Cite (student off campus hostel) before rushing her to hospital. 

She dismisses as false, rumors that her sister was raped. She states that no University of Buea official or any from the South West Region has bordered about her sister who is to undergo a head scan. Excepts:  

How did you receive news about what befell your sister?
I was at my work place in Kumba and was informed that there was a strike in Buea. I immediately called my younger sister to ask where she was. She told me she was in her room (13) at La Falaise Mini Cite. I asked her to park her things and that she must leave Buea and to return when things are back to normal. Few minutes later I received a call that my sister has been beaten by police and gendarmes and that she was in need of medical assistance. I immediately traveled to Buea where I met her in her room and rushed her to hospital.

Is she really a University of Buea student? What does she read?
She is a second year student and she is reading Economics at the University of Buea. 
What did your sister tell you actually happened?
My sister told me when she regained consciences in a hospital in Buea that shortly after my call asking her to park her belongings, she began hearing what to her were gunshots.  She told me that policemen and gendarmes then came to her room. Before then, she had been joined by three other girls since there was panic and fear. She told me that forces broke her door.  

They all rushed into her toilet whose door was also broken. From there they were all beaten by the security offices who poured water on them. They were abandoned when she had sustained wounds on her heard, mouth, legs and she had pains all over her body. While in hospital she could feel a sharp pain on every part of her body when I touched her especially on her legs.

How is her health situation  as at now, November 30 2016?
She has been responding to treatment but goes unconscious from time to time. She recognizes me but I can see she is seriously traumatized and does not feel like going to her room any more. I have transferred her to a hospital in Douala where she is to receive a head scan. It is from there that we would know exactly what to do next.

We also heard she was raped? How true is that?
No she was not raped. They were seriously beaten and humiliated. She also told me that she is worried about one of her mates. She said she work up and saw only two of the three girls with whom they were beaten. That she does not know whether the student was taken away by security forces or what happened to her.

Does your sister identify the student who is ‘missing’?
She told me the name but I can’t remember. I will certainly get her name when she is a little bit stable.

Did your sister complain losing anything?
Of course. Their house was ransacked their phones money and other valuables were confiscated by the men in uniform. Her books and other school material were scattered. We can’t really evaluate what she has lost.

Has any government official or university of Buea authorities visited you since the incident? Who is footing the bills?
No one has visited us. We are struggling as her family for now to pay her bills.

What would you tell students, parents, authorities and the university administration if you were to meet them?

To students, for protective reasons, they should rush to close family members that are away from school area whenever they of such a thing like strike. I think the University authorities should not neglect or ignore student’s opinion. Give them a listening ear and react promptly to their concerns.

NB: We conceal the identity of the victim to avoid any form of victimisation or stigma. We do not rule out possibility of having other alleged victims of rape. 

Bamenda Protests: Locals Pressure Police to Get Mancho BBC’s 'Friend' Released

Tension was again rife in Bamenda in the North West Region of Cameroon,for the greater part of November 30, 2016. At the time of filing in this report several witnesses testified how there were flames around mobile Nkwen in Bamenda. 

Locals were reportedly rushing for safety as security forces fired teargas. Other witnesses said violence almost degenerated when police and gendarmes broke up bike riders who were celebrating the release of a resident arrested earlier on  around the Bamenda Main Market. Witnesses testified seeing more that 40 bike riders arrested with their faces reportedly facing the ground.

Origin of Tension

The origins of the tension were rumours announcing the arrest of the gentleman who allegedly led what is being described as the ‘coffin revolution,” Mancho BBc .  It turned out to be that Mancho was not under arrest. Witnesses identified the person arrested as Che Benji, said to be a friend to Mancho BBc.

At the judicial police in Old Town, Mankon,  where Che Benji was bundled and detained, hundreds of local residents from the Bamenda Main Market converged, to demand for his unconditional release. It took several hours for Che to gain his freedom. 

Several residents said security forces were allegedly causing people to flee from Bamenda central town to neighboring villages and location to avoid been brutalised or arrested.

Meanwhile other reports indicate that the bike riders are quoted as promising to get all their compatriots detained to gain their freedom. 

Others were quoted as saying should Mancho Bbc be arrested, the tension in Bamenda could degenerate into violence.

An official of the Bamenda Governor's office declined making any comment about the reported tension in Bamenda. No government official had made a statement about the fears of violence that has gripped Bamenda.

What started as a strike action November 21 by teachers trade unions  to demand improved working conditions and the respect for the Anglo-Saxon system of Education is fast turning into resistance against what social media critics are describing as injustice.

Monday, 28 November 2016

SDF Senators, MPs, Mayors March On North West Governor’s Office

Senators, Members of Parliament and Mayors of the opposition Social Democratic Front, SDF party, November 25 2016 marched unto the offices of the North West Regional Governor.

The elected representatives who were granted audience by the Governor are reported to have condemned the ruthless manner in which security forces were handling protests in Cameroon.

After the governor’s office, the North West Representatives marched unto the grandstand at Commercial Avenue. 

The banners of the SDF carried messages demanding the respect of fundamental rights to protest and the respect for the Anglo Saxon system of education and its judicial system.

Other messages called on the Cameroon government to give a listening ear to the demands of the people.