BAMENDA, 19 January 2021 – An official of the regime of Paul Biya of French-speaking Cameroon on Monday claimed victory in the war against independence fighters of English-speaking Southern Cameroons aka Ambazonia.
“I am pleased to tell all of you that President Paul Biya has won the war against terrorists and secessionists,” said Paul Atanga Nji, Cameroon’s minister of territorial administration.
Atanga Nji was addressing a security meeting in the town of Bamenda, economic capital of Southern Cameroons.
“Just a few pockets of resistance still exist,” Atanga Nji added.
He urged the parents of those he described as “children in the bushes” to convince their loved ones to drop their weapons, come out of the bush and surrender.
Failing to surrender, Atanga Nji threatened, soldiers of the regime will handle the rest.
The independence fighters who, in the words of Atanga Nji, are “still causing trouble are desperate and will soon be wiped out”.
United Nations aid workers, diplomats and “Medicins Sans Frontieres” (MSF) staff in the war zone on Monday joined Southern Cameroonian leaders in making a mockery of Atanga Nji’s claims.
“He is delusional… always has been and we won’t waste time discussing the declarations of a man who knows never what he speaks about,” said Captain Peter Ngwa (not his real names) who heads an armed group in the town of Bamenda.
Atanga Nji is known for willingly and repeatedly misrepresenting reality, so long as what he utters is music for the ears of his master, Cameroon’s tyrant, Paul Biya.
In the early 1990s, while he was serving time for his crimes at New Bell Prison in Douala, Cameroon’s economic capital, Atanga Nji misrepresented himself as an association of the political elites of Bamenda.
His plea in a letter smuggled out of jail and read on state-owned radio, he encouraged Cameroon’s dictator to reject calls for the return of The Two Cameroons to multi-party democracy.
In 2016, when the call for recognition of the right of Southern Cameroonians to self-determination was non-violent, Atanga Nji went on state TV to make one of his many outlandish claims.
“There is no Anglophone problem in Cameroon,” he declared, urging the regime to give no consideration to the very problems that were to lead to the ongoing genocidal war.
Now that the very problem he claimed did not exist is being fought in a war of independence turn genocidal, Atanga Nji, unashamedly, claims that the war is over, with victory for the regime he serves.
A few months after claiming that there was “no Anglophone problem”, the sovereign people of Southern Cameroons unilaterally declared the restoration of the independence of their Homeland.
Twenty months after Cameroon gained independence within international boundaries that did not include Southern Cameroons, the United Nations granted the territory independence effective 1 October 1961 pursuant to United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1608(XV) of 1 April 1961.
Two months after that unilateral declaration of independence, dictator Biya on 30 November 2017 declared war on those he and Atanga Nji dehumanize with the words “terrorists” and “secessionists”.
Ambazonian leaders acknowledged Monday that Atanga Nji confessed one truth when he spoke from Bamenda.
He admitted that the goal of Biya’s army of occupation in Ambazonia is to “wipe out” all Ambazonians who reject colonial domination by French-speaking Cameroon.
There could be no more vivid a declaration of the intent of the unfolding genocide in Ambazonians: “wipe out” or, to use one other favorite word of the regime, “delete” Ambazonians.
No surprise then that Atanga Nji once declared on state TV that the regime stands ready to assist with the funerals of victims but also to “bury the bereaved”.
At the start of the war, he called on soldiers of the regime to remember that Southern Cameroonians are worse than the jihadist militants of Boko Haram.
Where the regime’s army cannot perpetrate the atrocity crimes for fear of prosecution before the International Criminal Court, it has formed a pro-regime militia known as “Atanga Nji Boys”.
Their job is to step in and commit the atrocity crimes with the support of Fulani herdsmen from Nigeria whenever it would be too risky for regime forces to handle.
“Atanga Nji Boys” were blamed for the Ngarbuh Massacre of 14 February 2020, in which 34 people, including women and children were massacred.
The militia is also charged with committing atrocity crimes that the regime would like to blame on Southern Cameroonians.
The Kumba Massacre of school children of 24 October 2020 was perpetrated by “Atanga Nji Boys”.
So, too, the series of attacks on young women whose throats were slit and of a former prison guard who was raped, mutilated and beheaded.
Several reports have named the territorial administration minister as the civilian commander of this pro-regime militia, whence their name: “Atanga Nji Boys”.
Cameroon’s senior military officers who attended the security meeting with Atanga Nji on Monday know what the reality of the ongoing genocidal war is.
The regime has not finished complaining publicly about the hundreds of their soldiers who have been deserting in droves over the last two months.
Even “Atanga Nji Boys” know better than to claim victory in a war that Southern Cameroonians have said, in any case, they have no interest in winning.
We are not interested in winning the war, journalist Innocent Chia wrote Monday on Twitter, explaining that Ambazonians are only interested in winning independence.
While Atanga Nji spoke in a hall located on the hilltop administrative neighborhood of Bamenda, surrounded by heavily armed troops of the regime, the reality beyond the doors of the hall was markedly different from what he was claiming.
Even as he stood there claiming victory, the one million inhabitants of Bamenda town, who live in the plains at the foot of that administrative hill, were religiously observing the weekly Monday ghost town operation.
The campaign consists of shutting down offices, including regime offices, the closure of banks, markets, shops, public transportation, etc.
It was instituted and continues to be enforced by Southern Cameroonian self-defense volunteers, known as Amba Boys or Restoration Forces.
They are the same forces who barely two weeks earlier – to cite only one recent example – hit a convoy of senior colonial administrators traveling in neighboring Momo State of Ambazonia with a roadside explosive device.
The attacked shattered vehicles in the convoy, killing four soldiers and one civilian.
“Does that kind of action and others that we are carrying out this week speak to a war that the regime has already won or is close to winning?” asked a bemused Peter Ngwa..