The United States government has announced visa restrictions on persons undermining the peaceful resolution of the crisis in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon.
The decision was announced in a statement signed by Antony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State on Monday, June 7, 2021.
The move is seen as intended to force both the Cameroon government and separatist leaders, resident mostly in the United States and Europe, into meaningful dialogue aimed at ending the five-year-old war between Anglophone separatist and the Cameroon government.
“The United States is deeply concerned by the continued violence in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon. We continue to call for both the Cameroonian government and separatist armed groups to end the violence and engage in a dialogue without preconditions to peacefully resolve the crisis,” the U.S. statement reads.
“It is important that children can attend school and that humanitarian aid can be delivered. We urge all relevant stakeholders in Cameroon and in the diaspora to engage constructively and seek a peaceful resolution to the crisis.”
Blinken stressed in the document that the U.S. Government “condemn those who undermine peace through engaging in or inciting violence, human rights violations and abuses, and threats against advocates for peace or humanitarian workers.”
“I am establishing a policy imposing visa restrictions on individuals who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the peaceful resolution of the crisis in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon,” he said.
“This decision reflects our commitment to advance a dialogue to peacefully resolve the Anglophone crisis and support respect for human rights. The United States strongly supports the Cameroonian people, and we remain committed to working together to advance democracy and mutual prosperity for both our countries.”
Though the statement seems to have been welcomed by both sides in the conflict, it remains to be seen how it would impact the situation.
“There is a third party involving criminals, some of whom are from Nigeria, visiting havoc on the Anglophone communities by way of kidnappings for ransom and senseless destruction of lives and property,” said Tonye Justus who claims to be a political activist based in Douala.
“There are also individuals in both government and separatist leadership who are benefitting from the spoils of the conflict and are not ready just yet to see it ended so they have been doing everything to undermine efforts for the peaceful resolution of the conflict.”
“This whole situation has lasted this long because the original cause has been hijacked from the teachers and lawyers who were at the forefront of the fight against Anglophone marginalization in Cameroon. Those who today claim to be leaders of the various factions of the struggle were not there when the teachers and lawyers started this struggle in 2016.”
“Unless the original leaders of the Anglophones are brought to the table to face the government in an inclusive dialogue, hope for a lasting solution would be far-fetched,” Tonye opined.
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