World, Africa

Ghost town operations resume in West Cameroon

Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium called for general strike in Northwest and Southwest regions

Felix Nkambeh Tih   | 09.01.2017
Ghost town operations resume in West Cameroon

Ankara

By Felix Tih

ANKARA 

Ghost town operations resumed in the English-speaking part of Cameroon on Monday as the organizers say the government has not responded to their demands.

The streets of Bamenda and Buea (capitals of two English-speaking regions) were deserted on Monday. Anglophone Cameroon is made up of 20 percent of the country's population and many anglophones say they are marginalized and poorly represented.

"No classes this day in Buea despite the presence of officials and teachers. City taxis are rare, paralyzing transport," state-run Cameroon Radio Television(CRTV) tweeted in French.

"Classes did not resume in Bamenda. urban and interurban transport are paralyzed. No traders and customers in markets," it added.

West Cameroon teachers, lawyers and students and teachers have been on strike for more than two months.

The Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium had called for the strike in the English-speaking part of the country.

"Ever since lawyers and teachers of West Cameroon raised critical issues relating to their existence, government has not taken any concrete steps to resolve them. Rather, they have been moving around trying to undermine the people," the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium said in a statement last week.

In October 2016, English Cameroon lawyers went on strike demanding for a better recognition of the English legal system in West Cameroon.

Teachers, students and the civil society followed suit, paralyzing the two English-speaking regions. Since then, schools have been closed and at least four people killed during protests, according to Amnesty International.

The protestors are calling for a return to federalism or the independence of West Cameroon.

French Cameroon gained its independence From France in 1960. In 1961, a federal state was set up when British Cameroon gained its independence from Great Britain and joined French Cameroon. The federal state was later dissolved in favor of a unitary state in 1972.

Since then anglophones say they are being forced to speak French in public institutions and schools and use the French-Cameroon legal system in courts.

However. the country`s constitution states: "The official languages of the Republic of Cameroon shall be English and French, both languages having the same status. The State shall guarantee the promotion of bilingualism throughout the country. It shall endeavor to protect and promote national languages."

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