VICTORIA-LIMBE, 17 January 2021 – Fans and teams in Group D of CHAN2020 in Cameroon may be in imminent danger from terrorist-style attacks, a campaign on Twitter has warned.
“Expect attacks by CamreoUN on players and team offricials playing Group D… in Limbe, Southern Cameroons,” wrote journalist Innocent Chia on Twitter.
Group D teams are Guinea, Namibia, Tanzania and Zambia.
The goal of the terrorist-style attacks would be “to blame Amba fighters” and tag the Southern Cameroons restoration of independence movement terrorist, the tweet added.
The tweet referenced an article in the Zambian newspaper Citizen.co.za asking the questionm “Is CAF setting-up teams for a massacre in Cameroon?”
Amba Boys and Restoration Forces are the appellations most popularly used to describe pro-independence self-defense volunteers in Southern Cameroons.
On Saturday, political leaders of the movement (based mostly in Europe and the United States), told journalists that they had wanted the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
“We have informed CAF and the nations concerned that Ambazonia is a war zone and that no one comes into our country on the permission of our occupier,” wrote Lucas Cho Ayaba, leader of one of the factions, the Ambazonia Governing Council.
We have received intelligence and can confirm that Cameroonian forces are planning attacks on fans or teams in Group D that they intend to blame on Restoration Forces, explained officials close to Samuel Sako, who leads the self-proclaimed Interim Government of Ambazonia.
They point to the fact, among others, that only last Sunday, Cameroonian soldiers slaughtered nine civilians, including an elderly woman, children and a baby in the village of Mautu, not too far away from Victoria-Limbe and immediately turned around to blame the massacre on Amba Boys.
Cho Ayaba denounced lack of action by the international community as the massacres multiply.
“We have called for targeted sanctions… After more than 70 massacres, the expression of concerns and calls for investigations is not enough,” Cho Ayaba added.
Forty-eight hoursbefore the start Saturday of the tournament, arsonists hit a public works company near the Centenary Stadium in Victoria-Limbe, burning down heavy-duty equipment.
A day before the tournament’s first game on Saturday, gunfire exploded at dawn in Likumba, a roadside settlement in the outskirts of Tiko, a town 30 miles from Victoria-Limbe on the road from Douala which will be traveled by all the teams based in Victoria-Limbe.
Video uploaded on social media the same day also showed a bus of a travel agency, Nso Boyz, riddled with bullets reportedly fired by Ambazonian Restoration Forces, who have denied any wrongdoing.
Group D games do not start until Tuesday in Victoria also known as Limbe in English-speaking Southern Cameroons, where three years ago a unilateral declaration of independence was issued by campaigners seeking to restore sovereignty over the former United Nations British Trust Territory of Southern Cameroons.
The genocidal violence has its root in the botched decolonization of TheTwo Cameroons.
French-speaking Cameroon won independence from France on 1st January 1960 within international boundaries that did not include Southern Cameroons aka Ambazonia.
After breakingaway from Nigeria in 1953, the self-governing territory gained independence following passage on 1 April 1961 of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1608(XV).
Independence for the territory became effective on 1st October 1961 and The Two Cameroons formed a loose confederation of “two states, equal in status”.
On30 November 2017, Cameroon’s tyrant Paul Biya declared war against those he calls “terrorists”, “armed criminals and gangs” and “secessionists”.
War crimes, crimes against humanity, and other atrocity crimes bordering on genocide have characterized the ongoing genocidal violence in the territory.
Pro-independence campaigners who have said the tournament is banned in Southern Cameroons declared a three-week lockdown of the territory in an interview on the Voice of America program, Daybreak Africa.
Ambazonian leaders say they are disappointed that three countries did not lead the boycott of CHAN2020.
They say they expected Namibia, whose citizens studied on scholarships in Cameroon during the independence war in Namibia to know what it means to support a people reaffirming their right to self-determination.
The pro-independence campaigners blame say they expected Rwanda to not fall for propaganda from the genocide-denialist regime of Paul Biya.
They expected Guinea to consider attacks on Southern Cameroons as attacks on Guinea, in keeping with the belief of Guinea’s founding father Sekou Toure who famously said of an attack on Guinea that it was Africa that was attacked from its Guinean territory.
With the tournament just 24 hours away from kick-off, Dr. Barrister Kizito Elad (one of the lead organizers of the call for boycott) was still jamming the switchboards of African embassies across the European Union, urging them to boycott CHAN2020.
Ambazonian leaders had petitioned the Confederation of African Football to avoid scheduling any of the games of CHAN2020 in territory that, ever since 2017, is effectively not only a war zone but an atrocity crime scene, with Cameroonian forces perpetrating genocide with impunity.