Interview with Sphynx Eben and the German Peace Society (DFG-VK)

Transcribed here is the english translation of an interview done between Sphynx Eben and the German Peace Society (Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft). The original German version is at


The conflict over the English-speaking part of Cameroon has already cost 3,000 lives and forced more than half a million people to flee. The independence movement strives for the independence of the Anglophone part of the country under the name Ambazonia.

The interview with Sphynx Eben from the Ambazonian Prisoners of Conscience Support Network (APOCSNET) gives an insight into a conflict that is almost unknown in this country.

War Resisters' International (WRI), the transnational pacifist and antimilitarist network that also includes the DFG-VK and the journal Graswurzelrevolution, accepted the Ambazonian Prisoners of Conscience Support Network (APOCSNET) as an associate member at its council meeting in Bogotá in 2019. Since then, WRI's list of Prisoners for Peace includes prisoners from the English-speaking part of Cameroon.

APOCSNET was represented at the council meeting in Bogotá by Sphynx Eben, who lives in New York. The following interview with him was conducted via email in July 2020. The interview was conducted by Gernot Lennert, who participated in the WRI conference in Bogotá as a delegate of the DFG-VK. For reasons of space, the interview in the grassroots revolution was only shortened and printed without annotations, divided into two parts: In GWR No. 452 (October 2020) pp. 1, 6f. and No. 453 (November 2020) p. 20.


[The name Ambazonia is fairly unknown. What is Ambazonia? Where does the name come from? How long has it been around? What does it mean?]

The name “Ambazonia” is derived from the Ambas Bay on the Atlantic Coast of Ambazonia. Ambas Bay got its name after the coastal tribes that live on the bay. It was here that the UK, under the leadership of the Baptist Missionary Alfred Saker, established the first colony on this land in 1858, called Ambas Bay Protectorate[1]. 13 years later, in 1871, the Deutsches Kaiserreich (German Empire) was created, which led to the perception that the dominant European colonial powers needed to give this new German Empire access to colonial resources in order to avoid a war over colonies. According to this logic, in 1887, Britain ceded Ambas Bay along with parts of her colony of northern Nigeria to the German Empire, which then added it to its recently established colony of Kamerun [2]. Those who argue that the “natural unity” of Cameroon includes Ambazonia refer to this moment of colonial history as if it is the starting point of the story.

The anti-colonial movement claimed the name “Ambazonia” in 1984 in response to Cameroon’s violation of article one of the post-1961 plebiscite constitutional arrangements, which stipulated that these two regions would share power in a federated state. By this time, Cameroon had demonstrated that it did not consider itself bound by these commitments, having disbanded or taken over most Ambazonian public institutions including the executive office and Parliament. In 1984, President Paul Biya decreed that the name “Federal Republic of Cameroon” would change to to “Republic of Cameroon” — which was the name that Cameroon had prior to the 1961 confederacy. This was the last straw that provoked the Ambazonian leaders to declare a restoration of their state as it had existed prior to the Confederacy, and they chose to name that state “Ambazonia.”

[It is noticeable that organizations that strive for the independence of the English-speaking part of Cameroon describe themselves as "South Cameroonian", e.g. the Southern Cameroons National Council. To what extent has the name Ambazonia been used? And why anyway “Southern Cameroons, since the area is located in the west of today's Cameroonian state and is officially called North West province and South West province?]

So, let me start with the second part of the question. The name “Southern Cameroons” originates from the phase of colonial history immediately following World War I. After the German Empire lost WWI, Ambazonia and another patch of land just north of Ambazonia that the UK had ceded to Germany in the 1887 arrangement were seized by the Entente powers and placed under the League of Nations Mandated Territory System under UK Administration. At this time, Ambazonia was referred to as the “League of Nations Mandated Territory of the Southern Cameroons under UK Administration” and territory to the north was referred to as the “League as the League of Nations Mandated Territory of the Northern Cameroons under UK Administration.” At the same time, the Entente powers placed the rest of the German colony of Kamerun under French administration. The patches of land that France lost to the German Empire in the 1911 Panthersprung were ripped from Kamerun and attached to the French colonies of Chad, Central African Republic, Congo Brazzaville and Gabon. The rest of Kamerun was designated the “League as the League of Nations Mandated Territory of Cameroun under French Administration.” When the United Nations superseded the League of Nations, all three territories became UN Trust Territories — specifically, Ambazonia became the “UN Trust Territory of the Southern Cameroons under UK Administration,” which it remained until 1961.

The League Mandate Agreements (later changed to the United Nations Trust Agreements) were supposed to conclude with independence or self-determination. But with the advent of the Cold War, France, UK and the US colluded to block Ambazoinia’s independence — according to a declassified dispatch from the American Consul General to Nigeria, John Emmerson, dated May 11, 1959, Ambazonia was a frontier in the battle against Communism — which Emmerson argued was a justification for blocking its independence and forcing it to choose in a plebiscite to either join Nigeria or Cameroon, both already controlled by American allies. Northern Cameroons voted in the plebiscite to join Nigeria, while Ambazonians voted to join Cameroun.

Some Ambazonia independence groups, such as the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC), use the nomenclature “Southern Cameroons” as is used in the UN documents to refer to Ambazonia. The groups that use Ambazonia do so in order to emphasize their pan-Africanism and their right to self-determination, including to define themselves as they choose. The first group to use the name Ambazonia was the Ambazonian Restoration Council (ARM) launched in 1984.

[To the Ambazonian Prisoners of Conscience Support Network: How does it work? Where do the active members of the network live? Are there exile-ambazonia groups or organizations in Germany that campaign for human rights in Cameroon?]

The Ambazonian Prisoners of Conscience Support Network (APoCsnet) is a network built to support Ambazonian human rights defenders being held in the prisoners and secret detention centers of the French Neocolonial regime in Cameroon. APoCsnet works to maintain communication with and between imprisoned comrades, to support their physical and emotional well-being, to gather and disseminate information that is relevant to their struggle, and to organize solidarity actions in consultation with their needs and campaigns. APoCsnet also works to support imprisoned human rights defenders in Cameroon and in the rest of the Francafrique controlled territories, and actively seeks to contribute to the building of a global network in solidarity with imprisoned human rights defenders all over the world.

APoCsnet has active members all over the world — including amongst the prisoners, in Ambazonia and French Cameroon, in the Ambazonian diaspora and among ally communities in South Africa, the UK, and the US. The Baden Württemberg–based Ambazonian Community is one of a few German–based groups doing Ambazonian solidarity and sometimes advocating for the rights of Ambazonian political prisoners in Cameroon.

[Why is there a Francophone and an Anglophone part in Cameroon?]

These languages are linked to the different colonial histories of the two territories. Ambazonia has never been under direct French control, whereas Cameroon was under French administration from the end of WWI in 1918 to 1960. Ambazonia was under UK administration in two different time periods: from 1858 to 1871 as the Ambas Bay Protectorate, and from 1918 to 1961.

For Ambazonians, the terms “Francophone” and “Anglophone” currently function as shorthand for second class and third class citizens in the French Neocolonial Republic of Cameroun. The consistent efforts of the government of Cameroon to dismantle and defund civil institutions in Ambazonia that use the English language — which is a violation of the terms the population voted on in 1961 plebiscite — is only the most visible proof that the current regime in Cameroon is not actually an independent regime, but is a neocolonial regime controlled by the French. For Ambazonians colonialism never ended, it has simply changed form — starting with the UK in 1858, then the Germans in 1887, and the UK again 1917, and then the French from 1960 to date.

[Why did the south of British Cameroon choose Cameroon and the north of Nigeria in the referendum?]

There were several reasons. At the time, the Northern Cameroons was sparsely populated and monoethnic, and its mainly Hausa population identified more with the cultural Hausa power center in Northern Nigeria — the Sultan of Sokoto — than with the smaller center of power in Cameroon, the Lamido of Maroua. The Southern Cameroons on the other hand was very huge territorial wise and densely populated, and its political leadership was already exercising lots of autonomy — with its own constitution, parliament and executive holding responsibility for policy in every domain except for defense and foreign affairs. Faced with the choice of becoming a province in Nigeria, or becoming one of two states in a two-state confederacy with Cameroon in which each state would keep its autonomous political institutions, the Southern Cameroonians made the political more attractive choice of joining Cameroon as one of the two states in a two-state confederacy.

[Why are there ambazonian prisoners in Cameroon prisons? What is your human rights situation?]

Cameroon has been imprisoning Ambazonian freedom fighters for decades. I myself was forced into exile in 1996 in order to avoid probable imprisonment and possible death, and several comrades of mine from the student movement were not so lucky. During the early years of my exile, I spent many years providing solidarity to these imprisoned comrades, who were held for nothing more than expressing their conscientiously held belief that the fundamental human rights of the people of Ambazonia need to be respected by all.

The first known Ambazonian political prisoner can be traced to 1891 during the period of German colonization. Legendary leader Mountain King Kuva Likenye was deported from Buea to Wonya Mokumba because of his anti-colonial stance, where he fell ill and died soon after.

The number of Ambazonian political prisoners has skyrocketed since fall 2016, following nationwide protests to defend the Ambazonian common law–based judicial system from the Cameroonian regime’s attempt to replace it with what amounts to a colonial court system. Leaders from all corners of Ambazonian civil society have been rounded up in the dragnet that followed this nonviolent uprising — teachers and teachers union leaders, lawyers and legal workers union leaders, journalists and press union leaders, student union leaders, doctors, and members of the traditional rulers association. Some have been or are being tried in military courts which is a violation of international law, and some have been sentenced for terrorism and other unjustifiable charges. APoCsnet estimates that there are currently over 3000 political prisoners being held in the dungeons and secret detention centers of Cameroon.

The conditions under which these imprisoned comrades are being held are horrific. For example, in Yaoundé, a facility built in1958 to hold 800 inmates is currently housing more than 5000. Our network of supporters raises funds to provide basic needs for the prisoners — such as mattresses, bed frames, life-saving medical care, and food. Our prisoners are well organized and communicate with each other to determine needs. Our prisoners also coordinate a legal fund which has enabled the representation of dozens of comrades, including securing some releases of both Ambazonian and French Cammeronian activists. Without these funds, the prisoners enjoy no guarantee of legal representation.

Some of our more prominent political prisoners — including the teachers Union leader Penn Terrence Khan and the journalist Mancho Bibixy — have received attention from the UN Special Rapporteur on Prisoners, though this has not yet led to their release, we have just learned that Penn Terrence will at least receive a new trial. Others have been profiled by international aid organizations such as the Center for the Protection of Journalists. However most go unnoticed in the court of international opinion — including the leadership of our movement, known as the Nera 10, whose story represents a serious violation of international human rights standards.

On January 5, 2018, Julius AyukTabe, known for championing a nonviolent approach to Ambazonian resistance, and his senior aides were illegally abducted by the Nigerian secret service at the Nera Hotel in Nigeria. They were subsequently handed over to Cameroon, along with 37 other asylum-seekers in violation of non-refoulement, a fundamental principle of international law which forbids a country receiving asylum seekers from returning them to a country in which they would be in likely danger of persecution. The 47 asylum-seekers are still being held, and the Nera 10 were only allowed limited access to lawyers and family visits after nine months of incommunicado detention and a grueling international campaign. Condemnations and calls by the UNHCR, the US State Department, Amnesty Nigeria, and others for the respect of the rights of the 47 forcibly returned from Nigerian custody to the Cameroonian authorities have been ignored by Cameroon officials. In March 2019, the Federal High Court of Nigeria ruled that the abduction and forcible return of the “Nera10” and 37 other Ambazonian activists by Nigerian government to Cameroon violated Nigerian and international law[3]. The court ordered their immediately released and returned to Nigeria, as well the federal government of Nigeria to pay the plaintiffs two hundred million Naira for aggravated damages. Instead of responding to the court's ruling, the Cameroon regime has dragged them in front of a military tribunal in trials loaded with irregularities in which they have each received sentences of life imprisonment.

Right now, it is particularly important for the international community to understand the case of the Nera 10, because these imprisoned leaders are currently working from behind bars to carve out space for legitimate peace negotiations that could end the horrific bloodshed that our people have been enduring for the past 4 years.

[How long has there been this conflict between the Cameroonian central state and people in the English-speaking part of Cameroon? How did the conflict develop?]

The conflict has been going on since 1961 when the Cameroon military occupied Ambazonia without the conclusion of a treaty of Union as stipulated in the plebiscite that the people approved. Every single subsequent action demonstrated that the regime had no intention of treating Ambazonia like an equal partner, as the plebiscite had specified.
It acted to undermine parliamentary process and eventually unilaterally disbanded the Ambazonian Parliament.
It orchestrated the deposing of the pro-independence Ambazonian Prime Minister Augustine Ngom Jua, and eventually assassinated him.
It disbanded the local police units, replacing them with French Cameroon military forces.
It gutted and eventually closed down the Public Works Department, and commandeered its heavy duty civil construction machinery which has previously been used cooperatively by local councils for road maintenance and repairs.
It shut down the network of farming cooperatives, as well as a range of other cooperatively run training and financial management organs which saw to the health, empowerment and economic effectiveness of the farming communities.
It began a decades long effort to undermine the power of the widely popular parent-teacher association network, which has been resisted every step of the way by movements of teachers and students.
It undermined and closed down almost every single industrial infrastructure that had fueled economic growth and employment opportunities in Ambazonia, including two naturally deep seaports, four airports, all railway lines, the public airline company Cameroon Air Transport which had been the fastest growing airline in West Africa at that time, the public electricity corporation Powercam which at the time was a pillar of economic growth and energy self-reliance, the national bank and a cooperative credit union league, and many others.
It has since located all new economic projects in French Cameroon, including even building an oil refinery (Sonara) that pipes oil out of Ambazonia and into Francophone controlled zones where all economic transactions are managed.
It has assimilated or impeded the celebration of almost every indigenous festival and local cultural tradition.

Ambazonians have resisted this treatment every step of the way. Prior to the 2016 lawyer-led uprising, most of these protests have been led by students and teachers. The Cameroon military has always responded to these peaceful protests with lethal force and human rights abuses, but the scale of this crackdown escalated exponentially in 2016 when peaceful protests initiated by lawyers quickly escalated into a general strike with participation across civil sectors. In the months that followed, both nonviolent protests and government persecution of nonviolent protesters escalated. In a December 2016 the African Union’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa, expressed deep concerns over human rights violations that included:

“killings of civilians; the deployment of armed military personnel, special security forces (BIR) and war machines to these two regions; the disproportionate and deathly use of force and violence to dispel peaceful and unarmed Lawyers, Teachers, Students, civilians and protesters in Bamenda, Buea and Kumba; the raping of students in Buea; the arbitrary arrests, detention and merciless beatings orchestrated by the police, gendarmerie, military and the BIR following strikes and protests that have been going on since October 2016.”[4]

In May, 17, 2018, the US Ambassador to Cameroon stated publicly that the Cameroon government is guilty of “targeted killings, detention without access to legal support, family, or the Red Cross, and burning and looting of villages.”

To prevent the people from reporting these abuses to the outside world, the Cameroon government cut internet access to the Ambazonia regions for six months in the first half of 2017, and have since returned it only intermittently and at their arbitrary discretion [5].

Nevertheless the people continued to organize — forming our own television station and continuing with regular general strikes. On October 1, 2017, the 1-year anniversary of the uprising, a peaceful demonstration was attacked by the Cameroon military, killing over 20 peaceful protesters, injuring others, and arbitrarily arresting over 700, as reported by Amnesty International. [6]

In response to these atrocities, and for the first time in four decades–long history of dissent, some within Ambazonia began to organize to defend their communities with force. Also at this time, a coalition of organizations issued a “declaration of independence” — which Ambazonians understand to be a restoration of the independence they had prior to the union with Cameroon — and set up an Interim Government in exile.

On November 29, 2017, in response to attacks on a military convoy and a police post by armed assailants, President Paul Biya of Cameroon declared “war” on those the state radio called “terrorists who seek secession.” These attacks have since been used as justification for a full out scorched-earth policy against the communities of Ambazonia, including systematic rape and other mass atrocities against women, men, and children, and the burning of villages as reported by BBC.

[What are the main points of contention between the central government and ambazonian political forces today?]

As I’ve written above, the roots of the conflict are in the defunding and dismantling of Ambazonian civil-political infrastructure, and the imposition of the French neocolonial systems and language, which is in violation of the terms outlined in the plebiscite that the Ambazonian people voted for in 1961. Which can be traced to the violation of the League of Nations mandate that the territory be prepared for independence. In other words what we are observing is the consequence of a stateless people being subjected to the exploits of the French Neocolonial regime in Cameroon.

Currently, the Ambazonia movement wants an end to the occupation and the Cameroon regime withdrawing its forces to its boundaries at independence, per the African Union Charter.
The French Neocolonial regime in Cameroon, on the other hand, insists it has the right to do as it wishes in Ambazonia and owes no one an explanation or argument, and that it has the military might and diplomatic connections via Paris to get away with this.

The Cameroon government is currently touting a “solution” of decentralization and some politicians are supportive of the same general idea, which is sometimes referred to as federalism. But as a close read of this interview hopefully makes clear, federalism was the system that was officially agreed to in 1961 it did not succeed at this time due to the bad faith of the Cameroon regime. We have no reason whatsoever to believe that their commitment to it has increased since then. To the contrary, we have ample evidence that they are even less trustworthy now than they were then.

The only thing that will succeed will be if Ambazonia can enjoy equal protections under international law as its own state.

[Are there different positions among the Ambazonian political forces? How should the struggle for independence and human rights be conducted: with military violence or nonviolently?]

Until very recently, this movement has been entirely nonviolent, with one of its dominant slogans being “The Force of Argument, not the Argument of Force.” This referred to the people’s full confidence that if the international judicial system would take a look at the facts, that the clear error would be recognized and rectified. That was until the 2016 and 2017 massacres that some resorted to defend their communities with force.

Although mainstream press focuses on the misleading narrative of “violence on both sides,” the Ambazonian movement remains a primarily defensive and essentially nonviolent movement. That is why you will not hear of French Cameroon civilians ever being targeted by Ambazonian activists. But the people are organizing to protect their villages and communities from being burned down by the Cameroon military. Current estimates are that the Cameroon military has burnt down more than 400 villages, which is a massive war crime. Several of the self dense groups consider the right to self-defense in concert with nonviolent resistance.

[Would the Ambazonian political forces still strive for independence if Cameroon became a federal republic again, in which the political, cultural and economic autonomy rights of the Anglophone part of the country and the human and civil rights of its people would be guaranteed?]

We do not fetishize statehood as the equivalent of liberation; yet, Ambazonians understand our current predicament to be the result of being stateless, and we are determined to not have to live through that situation for one more second. If the same historical accident that justifies other people having their own country applies to us, then we better have our own country, too. The French Neocolonial state in Cameroon, like other French Neocolonial regimes across Africa, is incapable of existence as a state based on the rule of law, much less as a protector of the human and civil rights of its people. The ruthlessness of the suppression by the Cameroon regime in recent years has given birth to another slogan: “Independence or Resistance Forever!” This accurately communicates the people’s level of resolve on this matter.

Of course, insisting on independence does not exclude the possibility of becoming part of a legitimately democratic confederation of democratic Africa states, like the European Union. This project came about after centuries of resistance to efforts by one or another country or people trying to subjugate others in a united Europe designed to serve their own interests.

[Are there external actors who support the central government of Cameroon?]

Yes, Cameroon is a French Neocolonial regime. Cameroon is not allowed to print its own money, and is required to use the Central African Franc (CFA). More than 60 percent of their foreign reserve must be kept in the French treasury. The French military can set up as many bases as they want in Cameroon without requiring permission from anybody. France has first right of refusal in mineral exploitation and major state contracts.

Cameroon is not alone in being subject to this form of neocolonialism. Starting with what some scholars now describe as the Genocide of the Bamileke in Cameroon[7] in the 1950s, followed by the systematic assassination of pro-independence leaders — including Ruben Um Nyobe and Felix Moumie of Cameroon, Barthelemy Boganda of Central African Republic, Outel Bono of Chad, Sylvanus Olympio in Togo[8] and Thomas Sankara in Burkina Faso[9] — and accompanied by other forms of coercion and threats, France managed to maintain the essential components of its colonial infrastructure intact while appearing to comply with the shifting international consensus reflected in the 1960 UN resolution calling for an end to colonialism.[10] Whereas many pro-independence leaders in former British colonies went on to lead their countries after independence (for example, Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana, Jomo Kenyatta in Kenya, Milton Obote in Uganda, and Kenneth Kuanda in Zambia), France handed control to their former colonial staff and called it “independence.” These former colonial staff were then made to sign bilateral agreements with France which stipulated the above restrictions and more.

These arrangements and the violence which upholds them were propelled into popular awareness by French activist and economist François-Xavier Verschave in his 1999 bestseller La Françafrique, le plus long scandale de la République.[9] The issues this book documents are not yet well known outside of French-speaking activist circles.

[Are there external actors who support the fight for human and civil rights in the English-speaking part of Cameroon? Are there external actors who are striving for an independent Ambazonia? How do e.g. neighboring Nigeria, the Anglophone countries of Africa and the Commonwealth countries to which Cameroon belongs?]

Nigeria since the 60s have been under the corrupting influence of France following French involvement in the Biafra war, then the use of Total, Peugeot and the French-Nigeria chamber of Commerce to corrupt Nigerian politicians. Thus it is that Nigerian politicians have looked the other way as to the travesty of justice taking place to their next-door neighbor — even as they hurried to intervene in Ivory Coast more than 6 countries away from their borders when the French needed their help to topple Gbagbo who had taken to resisting the French [11].

But the Nigeria people, including some local and regional leaders, have been very supportive of Ambazonian refugees especially those in the border areas, where often members of the same ethnic groups live on both sides of the border.

[The knowledge that there was a German colonial empire until World War I is very weak in Germany because the triple catastrophe of World War II, Nazi dictatorship and Shoah dominates the memory and overshadows everything else. The commemoration of 100 years of the First World War in 2014 and the debate about the German genocide of Herero and Nama in German South West Africa, which later became Namibia, have changed that a little. But even those who know that Cameroon was also a German colony generally don't know any details.
How can the German colonial rule in Cameroon be characterized in just a few sentences? Are there any outstanding crimes?]

German rule was excessively ruthless. Following German’s first ever military defeat in Africa in Ambazonia in 1891 by the Mountain King Kuva, the massacre that followed the German revenge turned the Bakweries Kuva’s ethnic group into a minority overnight, and they are yet to recover as a population [12]. The Germans followed a similar scorched earth policy in the North zone of Ambazonia with a brutal war of colonialism against the Bafut with the burning to the ground of the town of Mankon. [28]

[How is German colonial rule perceived in Cameroon today? Is it very present in the memory or is it overlaid by the subsequent Franco-British period?]

Before answering this question, I must clarify that the term “Franco-British period” is misleading in that it implies that French rule has come to an end at the same time that British rule came to an end. But this is not true. Today the Ambazonian people still suffer under French Neocolonialism. And due to the heavy hand of this rule, the memory of the horrors of German colonialism is for most a thing to be read in the historic books.

One of the most important things to understand about the ruthlessness of the period of German colonialism, is that the subsequent period of British administration through the trust territory system was experienced as a huge improvement by the people. Following the end of each World War, the international moral consensus against colonialism grew, a reality reflected in the name “Trust Territory.” Many administrators of the colonies during this time took seriously the task of “preparing the colonies for independence.” In Ambazonia, they worked in cooperation with the indigenous community to build hundreds of effective public institutions, such as parent-teacher unions and farmers cooperatives. These institutions went a long way toward dismantling the unilateral control implemented during the previous stage of colonialism, and returned a great deal of power and resources to the people. In 1954, Ambazonia (then the UN Trust Territory of Southern Cameroons) held elections that led to the first peaceful transition of power from one democratically elected government to another in Africa. This widely celebrated feat was just the most obvious fruit of an intentional effort to return power to the people and cultivate democratic practices that took place during the later years of the UN Trust Territory era.[13]

[What is the relationship with the German state as a result of colonialism? Does Germany pay more attention to Cameroon compared to countries that were not German colonies? Are there any current conflicts, e.g. reparations for crimes in the colonial era or for the return of stolen cultural assets or stolen human remains?]

German does not pay any particular attention to Cameroon for being a former colony and neither is there any discussion about reparations, crimes from the colonial era, stolen assets or human remains. German policy towards Cameroon, like the rest of the continent of Africa, seems simply focused on German strategic interest, and where there is a history that can be used to smoothen that process it gets propped up. For the first three years of the current war, German forces were providing training to Cameroon military and police forces [14]. That had nothing to do with German colonial history but rather about Germany’s effort to gain a strategic foothold in the resource rich continent, and also stop African migrants from crossing into Europe by externalizing the borders of Fortress Europe. German forces are carrying out similar military training missions in Mali [15], Niger [16], Djibouti [17], Somalia[18] and other countries while supposedly participating in UN mission — except as reported on several occasions the Germans have repeatedly violated the UN mandate that put their forces in those countries to follow German strategic interest [19].

[Germany is at least a close military ally of France in West Africa, the Bundeswehr is fighting in Mali. How does Germany behave with regard to the Biya regime supported by France?]

Germany had a secret military program supporting Biya’s regime in Cameroon, which was exposed in 2019 in a parliamentary debate related to the endless mass atrocities and massacres being committed by the Cameroon military. The program was subsequently shut down.[14]

[Does Germany only support French power politics in Africa? Or do the German state and German corporations pursue their own interests independently of France or against French interests?]

Germany most definitely is pursuing its own strategic interest. France, though it has the largest number of neocolonially-controlled republics in Africa, is currently bankrupt: while the instructure — i.e. the military and diplomatic machinery — required to maintain this control comes from the French state, the profits from these colonial expeditions have mostly gone directly into the pockets of the ruling class. To address this situation, French politicians have taken to pimping these French neocolonial territories in Africa and the neocolonial regimes running them to the highest bidder. Examples include pimping Sudan’s oil to Chinese companies [20], Angola’s oil to businessmen Gaydamak and Falcone in Angolagate [21], Djibouti’s land to the armies of nine countries amongst them Germany in what has become the largest global military base in the world [22], and so on. Germany has taken advantage of this opportunity to build a broad network of small contingents of German soldiers in 11 strategic locations around the continent, 9 of which are French neocolonial republics[23]. This explains why Germany does not seem to hesitate to break UN mandates, which it has used as cover to get into Mali, to participate in spying on and attacking local activists against French neocolonialism there [24].

So, just like in the 1884 Berlin conference, when European countries found common cause to collaborate in plundering Africa while pursuing their individual interests, once more Germany is collaborating with France, the country that managed to maintain its colonial infrastructure in the continent into the 21st century, to continue the shameless exploitation of Africa [25].

[The Covid 19 pandemic is used in many countries to increase state repression? How does this affect the situation in Ambazonia?]

The regime has essentially weaponized COVID19. It has repeatedly blocked UN Humanitarian Air Service from transporting health workers and COVID19 critical medical supplies to assist people in the Ambazonian community who have been hit the hardest by Cameroon’s war of extermination since 2016.[26]

It has also refused to decongest the extremely crowded prisons and detention centers where it is holding some 3000 of Ambazonia political prisoners, which as Reuters has noted on July 9, 2020 [27], amounts to using COVID19 as an easy way to eliminate political prisoners without provoking international outrage.

Recently, 138 of our imprisoned comrades signed a petition expressing their dismay at this situation, and proclaiming their desire to see tangible steps toward justice as they face the possibility of effective mass execution by the Cameroon government’s inept handling of the COVID19 pandemic. The specific mechanism for justice that they demand is that the United Nations Security Council mandate a human rights fact finding mission to the conflict region. APoCsnet has put together a sign-on letter in which allies can support the political prisoners' demand. The campaign linked here will directly contact decision-makers in three continents, including Germany and the EU. To sign on, click here:

We urge your readers to take this opportunity to make one small action to counter the centuries of injustices I have described here.

Thank you very much for your questions and the opportunity to address your readers.


1.Alfred Saker, missionary to Africa : a biography

2. Ambas bay Chronology

3.Nigeria Federal Court Decision on the refoulement includes compensation for damages. A decision the Cameroon and Nigeria governments have ignored.

4. Press Release on the Human Rights Situation in Cameroon Following strike actions of Lawyers, Teachers and Civil Society

5. OHCHR, UN expert urges Cameroon to restore internet services cut off in rights violation, 10 February 2017, (accessed Jan 7, 2019)

6. Amnesty International, Cameroon: Inmates ‘packed like sardines’ in overcrowded prisons following deadly Anglophone protests, 13 October 2017 (accessed Jan 7, 2019)

7. Deltombe T, Domergue M, Tatsitsa J, La guerre du Cameroun: L’invention de la Françafrique (1948-1971), editions la Decouverte (2016)

8. Boisbouvier C, “Togo: qui a tué l’ancien président Sylvanus Olympio?” Jeune Afrique, 18 janvier 2013: (accessed Jan 6, 2019)

9. Verschave F, La Françafrique, le plus long scandale de la République, Stock (1999)

10. United Nations, Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples

11. What the World Got Wrong in Côte D’Ivoire

12. Kuv’a Likenye in the Bakweri-German Conflict of 1891: Memories of War for Contemporary Anglophone Cameroon Activism

13. CORRECTION NEEDED: Non-Participation in Cameroonian Elections is a Principled Resistance Tactic

14. End of a 'secret' German military mission in Cameroon

15.German government extends missions in Mali

16.Germany opens new military camp in Niger

17. Information from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Armed Forces
Annual Report 2017 (59th Report)

18. Ibid 17

19. Florian Flade, Thorsten Jungholt: Bundeswehr unterstützt französischen Anti-Terror-Krieg in Mali.

20.BNP Paribas sentenced in $8.9 billion accord over sanctions violations

21.Report Alleges US Role in Angola Arms-for-Oil Scandal

22. The Coming Wars

23. Ibid 17

24. Ibid 19

25. France and Italy’s relationship is close to breaking point

26. U.S. Embassy Recognizes World Health Worker Week

27. Coronavirus stalks cells of Cameroon's crowded prisons

28. 20th Century in Cameroon: Bafut Wars, Battle of Koussri, Economic Crisis of Cameroon, Yaound Convention