Internet cuts in Southern Cameroons: President Biya yields to international pressure

The President of the Republic of Cameroun Mr Paul Biya has today decided  to re-establish Internet connection in the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon.

Paul Biya

In a communiqué read over state owned CRTV radio at 5 pm (4 pm GMT) today  20 April 2017, the Minister of Communication, Issa Tchiroma Bakary invites mobile operators to re-establish the Internet connection in the two Anglophone regions of the country.

The decision to cut internet on January 17, 2017,following the Anglophone crisis has been condemned by the international community and Biya’s has faced triple pressure of the United Nations (UN), the United States and the Vatican.

At the end of March, UN Secretary-General António Guterres tried to talk to Paul Biya by telephone about the human rights situation in the two Anglophone regions of Cameroon. Paul Biya, who had been living in Geneva since the end of his state visit to Italy, Had promised to call him back,but cannot confirm if he did.

In a communiqué released on 13 April 2017, UN Special Representative for Central Africa, François Louncény Fall, urged the Cameroonian authorities to examine diligently the difficulties faced by the populations and entrepreneurs in the English-speaking regions of the country. North West and South-West which have been without Internet since mid-January 2017. “This is a deplorable situation. But I am convinced that this important tool for development, communication and collective fulfillment will be gradually re-established throughout Cameroon, “he said before leaving Cameroon on 13 April at close a  Four-day official visit.

Meanwhile, While the Cameroonian president was in the Vatican, on 23 March, Pope Francis reaffirmed “the importance of national cohesion in the respect of human rights and minorities”. As for the Americans, they are following with great interest the arrests and hearings of Anglophone leaders currently jailed in la République’s prison and US is threatening to re-examine it’s military cooperation with Yaounde.

On the economic front, this cut has caused enormous losses for both regions. Estimated at tens of billions of CFA francs, this loss had enormous consequences on the economy with many  said languishing under misery.

Though the restoration of the Internet is believed to be the beginning of resolution of this crisis which began in November 2017, the anglophone populations say they are tired of the marginalization of government for the past 56 years. Yaoundé has arrested several Anglophone leaders.This week saw , the Catholic Bishops and their counterparts of the Presbyterian Church  of the English-speaking region  summoned to court .

This decision by government authorities will not in anyway hault the Anglophone movement which is bent on restorating it’s 1961  independence of former British Cameroons.

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