Armed secessionist fighters are said to have flooded their ranks with minors forcefully recruited in different localities in the two English-speaking Regions to disrupt the unity and peace of Cameroon.
Cameroon’s two English-speaking Regions have over the past one year witnessing socio-political crisis. What began as corporate agitations by the Anglophone teachers’ trade unions and Common Law lawyers on the functioning of their respective corps in the country was soon transformed into political demands. Despite President Paul Biya’s efforts in resolving the concerns raised by the two corporate bodies, secessionist ideologist who infiltrated the ranks of the teachers and lawyers closed their eyes to what the government has done to improve on the situation and opted for mass protest. They also forcefully involved the entire population to obey their civil disobedience calls as they imposed ghost towns and school boycotts on the population, a majority of which do not subscribe to their stance to split the peace loving and united country.
As the armed separatist opted for violence, attacking schools, students, top government officials and anyone who dared kick against their diabolic ambitions, the government deployed security and defence forces to the troubled regions to ensure peace and order as well as the protection of persons and property. Since then, the republican soldiers have become main targets of the armed groups.
How Children Are Recruited by the Armed Separatist Groups
There are at least two main militia groups belonging to the armed section of the secessionist. The Ambazonia Defence Forces (ADF), the Red Dragon Restoration Forces which they claim is an elite unit of ASC, and other outfits that most often quarrel among themselves. These armed factions of the separatist groups, we learnt from sources on the ground, are forcefully recruiting children into their ranks. A source in the severely hit Meme Division revealed that the villages are empty as Ambazonia boys as they call them, invade villages and forcefully recruit young boys. Photos posted on social media by some foreign based pro secessionist who has been tagged as a terrorist, Mark Barata, shows how the so called ASC new recruits, essentially children are being trained in the forest.
It should be noted that the Ambazonia terrorists have in no circumstances respected international humanitarian laws. Apart from targeting schools and hospitals, children and female teachers as well, they are now forcefully recruiting young children who they have forced out of school due to violence on schools.
Once recruited, the Ambazonia boys hand dent hunting guns, cutlasses and other weapons to the children and send them to confront defence and security forces. Sources say they also force the kids to consume drugs such as tramadol and narcotics so as to build courage in the children.
These acts, only exposes the nature of criminality and terror the armed groups are creating in the communities in the two troubled Regions. They have not only turned their back to dialogue as proposed by the government on several occasions but have continued violent attacks on public and private property as well as the military.