The European Union (E.U.) has reiterated the Cameroon government to initiate sincere and constructive dialogue’ as a means of finding a solution to the deadly violence in Cameroon’s restive Anglophone regions.
They tasked the Cameroon government to ensure that lives do not continue to be lost as has been witnessed over the last weekend where a number of security officials and civilians have been killed.
Whiles stressing the need for such acts of violence to be punished, the statement of Wednesday February 7, 2018, European Union calls on all sides to refrain from any act that might exacerbate tensions or incite violence between Cameroonians.
“It remains convinced that sincere and constructive dialogue, following democratic and constitutional procedures, is the only way of finding a lasting solution to the crisis, while preserving unity and peace for all Cameroonians,” the statement read.
The E.U. said it was also concerned about the use of force by security forces in the line of their duties. Reports have indicated that security forces in reprisal attacks have indiscriminately killed civilians – a total of four civilians were said to have died in a security raid.
“Fresh acts of violence in the (anglophone) northwest and southwest regions of Cameroon have caused the death of at least three members of the security forces and a number of civilians,” the EU statement said.
“Such acts are unacceptable and must be punished. The same applies to any excessive use of violence against civilians. The perpetrators must be brought to justice in accordance with the law.”
The United Nations, the United States, United Kingdom and other partners have all advocated the need for dialogue.
Anglophones in Cameroon have long complained that they face discrimination, saying that they are excluded from state jobs as a result of their limited French language skills. They also complain that official documents are often only published in French, even though English is also an official language.
There are issues in the judicial sector as well. The country’s legal system is largely based on French civil law, but English-speaking regions still operate under the English common law. Cameroonian lawyers say that the government is sending French-educated civil law judges who do not understand English common law to their courts.
Anglophone Cameroonians believe that only a complete overhaul of the administrative departments in the country and an inclusive federal constitution can end their woes. Cameroon had adopted a federal government system in the 1960s but this system was later dropped after a referendum.