Cameroonians around the world celebrated Independence Day Sunday in a variety of ways. A group calling itself the Southern Cameroon National Council (SCNC) held a rally Saturday in Washington demanding self-determination from the Republic of Cameroon.
Larry Eyong-Echaw, former chairman of SCNC/USA said tensions between northern and southern Cameroon continue.
“The purpose of the gathering today is to alert the international community about an impending genocide in southern Cameroon,” he said.
Northern French Cameroon achieved independence in 1960 as the Republic of Cameroon. In 1961, southern British Cameroon voted to join the Republic of Cameroon to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon.
Eyong-Echaw said his group wants a peaceful separation between Francophone and Anglophone Cameroon.
“Since 1993, when we started fighting for our separate independence, 43 nations have been accepted into the concert of nations. So, we southern Cameroonians are asking for the intervention of the international community for there to be a peaceful separation between us and northern Cameroon,” Eyong-Echaw said.
Bertha Ndoh, special advisor to Prime Minister Philemon Yang, said Cameroonians at home celebrated Independence Day under the banner of a unitary state.
“A majority of the Cameroonians came together and we did celebrate our unitary state. Those who were demonstrating are just a little percentage of the population,” Ndoh said.
She rejected accusations from the SCNC that Anglophone Cameroon has been marginalized by the government of President Paul Biya.
“You know, it is normal in a state like this [that] not everybody can think positive. We have a little percentage of people who will disagree. Here we are happy because we have national integration. We live peacefully with each other. Cameroonians can live wherever they want to live. We can intermarry,” Ndoh said.
Eyong-Echaw described as traitors southern Cameroonians who have served in the Biya government.
“Those are traitors. Those are people who do not have self-esteem like Ephraim Inoni, who was claiming to be a prime minister but [is] now in jail without a trial. We have a dictatorship in Cameroon. Southern Cameroonians, who are not proud of their British parliamentary heritage, go into French Cameroon and they are put in jail where they belong because they’ve sold their nationhood,” Eyong Echaw said.
Inoni, who served as prime minister from 2004 to 2009, was arrested and detained in April for his alleged role in the 2004 purchase of a presidential plane called Albatross.