AMBAZONIA’s STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM

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Ambazonia is a country of 6.5 Million persons situated between French Cameroon to the East, Nigeria to the West and Equatorial Guinea to the South West. The accident of history seriously influenced by the geography ended-up making Ambazonia one of the main spots in Africa, were the cold war contention between NATO and Eastern Block countries unfolded with disastrous consequences for the locals. It led to a calculated stalling of the progress to independence of Ambazonia and eventual occupation by French Cameroon in 1961, with the full involvement of France, active cooperation of Britain and understanding of the US. The offices of the United Nations were the field in which this crime against Ambazonia was fine-turned and executed; in violation of all United Nations resolutions and United Nations Charter provisions guaranteeing the Independence of Ambazonia-which was then referred too as the United Nation Trust Territory of Southern Cameroons under British administration.

i-The single most influential natural factor in political evolution in Ambazonia has been the Topography:

To the West of Ambazonia in the frontier with Nigeria is a chain of mountains that end with the second highest Mountain in Africa-Mt.Fako. To the East in the frontier with French Cameroon is a big extended rift-valley in its bed of which runs the Mongo River-one of the biggest rivers in Central Africa. To the North of Ambazonia extending from Nigeria into Cameroon are the highest and roughest peaks of the Adamawa Plateau; the largest Plateau in Africa. And to the South separating Ambazonia with Equatorial Guinea and the Rest of the World is the Atlantic Ocean. These relief features at the borders seriously influence political evolution in Ambazonia. In ancient times this rough relief provided protection from outside invasion, thus saving Ambazonia from the attacks of invading Warriors from the Kandem Bornu Empire in the Northeast who invaded most of the horn of Africa.

The rugged relief also prevented the absorption of Ambazonia into the larger neighboring Kingdoms of Yorobaland to the West in present day Nigeria. These relief features were as well instrumental in the development of the Ambazonian nation by forcing particular cultural treads in the entire territory, which persisted without much alteration for very long because of the little influence from outside the territory due to very little movements of peoples in and out of the territory.

ii-From Colonization to a League of Nations Mandated Territory to a United Nations Trust Territory to occupation by French Cameroon.

British missionaries were the first Europeans to established trading posts in Ambazonia. Which was later became the Ambas-bay colony.Germany got involved in colonization later than the other Europeans and efforts were made to allow the Germans get colonies by allowing them colonize un-colonized territories and giving them some territories already controlled by the other Europeans. In 1885 the British signed a treaty with Germany transferring Ambazonia to them. The Germans then declared Ambazonia part of their already established colony of “Kamerun”. Like the British before them the Germans will face serious wars of resistance from the Ambazonians (especially in Northern Ambazonia) where the wars lasted till the defeat Germany in WWI and eventually to the lost of their colonies.

At the end of WWI Ambazonia became a category B League of Nations Mandated territory under United Kingdom administration for preparation to self-government and independence. The British more concerned with consolidating their control over their large colony Nigeria rather tried to incorporate Ambazonia into the Eastern region of Nigeria. Britain neglected the territory completely to the control of the Eastern regional government of Nigeria and hoped Ambazonia will be a bargaining chip to cajole the Eastern Nigerians into allowing the British to establish a more British controllable government in Nigeria at independence. That, because most of the leading Nigerian activists for total emancipation from British control were from Eastern Nigeria.

In 1953 Ambazonian Parliamentarians walked-out of the Eastern Nigerian House of Assembly in protest of this negligence and requested self-government. 1954 Ambazonia (former United Nations Trust Territory of Southern Cameroons under British administration) attains self-governing status with a two chambers parliament, an executive headed by a Prime Minister and a Judiciary, while Britain retained control of the armed forces and International relations.
That set the stage for a political direction without much influence by any imperialist government.

Britain obsessed with making sure the government of their colony Nigeria at Independence remains controllable by Britain did not pay that much attention to developments in Ambazonia.

In the 1950s the struggle for decolonization intensified in Africa and the cold war was as well shifted to Africa. The former German colony Kamerun had been torn-down to it composing pieces. Parts had been given back to Chad, Congo and Gabon. The bigger piece came under French control as a League of Nation mandated Territory and latter UN Trust territory. By the 50s, the French instead of preparing the territory for Independence as prescribed by the United Nations, were rather trying to add the territory to their Empire (French colonial territories) in Africa. A decolonization war break-out between the French Cameroon independence movement and France. Ambzonians having attained self-government as the United Nations Territory of Southern Cameroons under British Administration became a haven for Cameroon independence fighters. With massive napalm bombings, terror and assassination of the main leaders of the Cameroon independence movement, the French managed to destroy the Cameroon independence movement.

France then gave token independence to Cameroon while installing a French collaborator (Amadou Ahidjo) as president and immediately had him sign series of ridiculous agreements with France. These agreements literally handed the sovereignty and economy of Cameroon over to France. The French shall have a right to use all infrastructure in Cameroon for whatever purpose defined as “French National Interest”, Cameroon forces shall be trained by France, France shall have the right to fly troops into Cameroon to defend what they call French property if the need ever arises, Cameroon shall use the Central African Franc (CFA) like legal tender which is pegged to the French Franc and the French Central Bank determines and regulate the flow of cash and interest rates. The list of all the ridiculous agreements imposed on Cameroon by France is too long to be completely mentioned here. This was one of the most blatant refusals of sovereignty to a people!
In Nigeria to the West of Ambazonia, the British were neck deep into machination to make sure they hand independence to a regime that will guarantee Britain continues to be the main stake holder in the Nigerian economy. They animated old tribal differences, bribed traditional leaders, rigged elections and finally succeeded to have their man Tafawa Balewa as President of the independent Nigeria. French Cameroon independence fighters escaped to Ambazonia for safety and also held meetings here with supporters from the Pan-African movement. Aware of this connections and the very delicate situation they have been able to stitch together in Nigeria the British immediately started a process in the United Nations to derail the independence of Ambazonia.

Britain also had serious economic interest in Ambazonia. The British had invested heavily in large tropical crops plantations in Ambazonia and also discovered oil and other important minerals. The British realized that with their limited control over the political elite in Ambazonia, an independent Ambazonia risk creating a place that could serve as inspiration and a base for progressive Nigeria to destabilize the fragile arrangement they had managed to put in place in Nigeria. The option of prolonging British administration in Ambazonia will be unacceptable to the newly independent pan-African states in the UN.
An Independent Ambazonia will be a base for French Cameroon independence fighters to reorganize and launch their struggle for independence. All of which could end-up turning the sub-region into a pro-Eastern Pan-Africa area to the loss of NATO. The British and the French agreed with the help of their NATO allies in the UN to stop Ambazonia from becoming an independent country by manipulating the very logical and legal process called “the Termination of UN Trusteeship”, and using French Cameroon to occupy the country.

Mr. John K. Emmerson American Consul General to Lagos at the time will wrote the following in dispatch no.440 from Lagos on 3/11/59 to the state department:
“…the geography and the forces at work in the Southern Cameroons(Ambazonia) were so significant….no part of Nigeria or region is subjected to outside influence like Southern Cameroons….the recent association of Mummie (leader of the Cameroon independent movement) with (the Pan-African pro-Eastern block leaders) Nkrumah(Ghana) and Sekou Toure(Guinea) presaged activities in Southern Cameroons (Ambazonia)….communist forces must be very interested in the Southern Cameroons… and no such opportunity exists in Nigeria but they do in Southern Cameroons. …..Southern Cameroons is far more important in fast moving African events than its population….. (events in Ambazonia) could affect access to great progress in business and government. ….”

Mr. Pierre Messmer former French Prime Minister and one time French governor to French Cameroon explains in his memoirs how France and Britain colluded to violate all United Nations provisions on the destiny of Ambazonia(United Nations Trust Territory of Southern Cameroons)and ended up using French Cameroon troops to occupy Ambazonia in September of 30 1961. Then in 1961 the discussion on African Unity that prevailed in the continent further complicated things, and created an atmosphere of readiness to accept the illegal occupation. There was hope that the two African countries (Ambazonia and Cameroon) can jointly curve out a new future for their children and children’s children.

What most people didn’t realize then was that Cameroon though being an African country was totally controlled by France and in such a setting all those hopes were dead on arrival.

45 years down the road the situation in Ambazonia is only getting worst with every new day. The Cameroon regime has permanently dissolved the government of Ambazonia via; its executive and parliament. The Cameroon regime is embarking on militarization and encirclement of Ambazonian communities. The economic bases of Ambazonia have been completely destroyed in the hope of forcing the people to resign to the status quo. All six airports, two seaports and a river port have been closed leaving all sea and air travel to Ambazonia only possible via Cameroon. The road infrastructure has been left to rotten. The reserves of the Ambazonian produce marketing board and all other Ambazonian state cooperative have been pillaged and the cooperatives closed. Ambazonian students and unarmed civilians are being shot with live bullets regularly at peaceful demonstrations. The list goes on and on …. The French Cameroon elite have further aggravated things by discrimination in everything from education and general training to employment and granting of contracts. All these, while more than 60 percent of the GDP is from Petroleum exploited and refined in Ambazonia, not up to 13% of the outcome is investment in Ambazonia. Cameroon has further granted limitless lumbering rights to companies like those of Christoph Mitterrand (son of Francois Mitterrand), whose companies have repeatedly violated all lumbering regulations to the point were dozens of Ambazonian communities today suffer the consequences of deforestation outcome in the form of deadly landslides and fall in agro production.

It is in the backdrop of the above violations that Ambazonians have been struggling to end their occupation by French Cameroon.
The success of our struggle will be solid step for social justice in our sub-region and will once more revigorate the struggle of Cameroonians for their emancipation. Their struggle has been sapped with the chauvinistic ranting that is being chanted on the state own radio, TV and Newspapers, which in the absence of a free press, have confused the Cameroonian on who their real enemy is.

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