The past four months have witnessed the gathering of Cameroonian leaders, political actors and activist in Canada to come up with a consensus to the long standing Anglophone crisis that began since 2016.
Several secret meetings held in the town of Mont-Tremblant and elsewhere in Quebec and Ontario set the stage for Canada to be the chief mediator of peace negotiations between the Cameroon government and separatist fighters in a worsening armed conflict in Cameroon that has killed more than 6,000 people.
This was revealed on Friday evening through an announcement by Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly who said Canada has accepted the mandate to facilitate this process.
“The agreement to enter a formal process is a critical first step toward peace and a safer, more inclusive and prosperous future for civilians affected by the conflict,” she added.
Minister Joly said the groups involved in the negotiations will include the Republic of Cameroon, the Ambazonia Governing Council and the Ambazonia Defence Force, the African People’s Liberation Movement and the Southern Cameroons Defence Force, the Interim Government, and the Ambazonia Coalition Team.
However, the Cameroon government in a release dated January 24, 2023, stated that they (the government) have not entrusted any foreign country or external entity to mediate in settling the crisis in the two English speaking Regions of Cameroon.
Making reference to the failed National Dialogue held in Yaoundé in 2019, the government, seeming to back out of the Canadian led-mediation, instead called on the sons and daughters of Cameroon make thier voices heard for the future peace, security and progress of the country.
The recent press release has caused a lot criticisms as it comes after the leaders of the four Ambazonian groups, in a statement this last weekend, said they had signed a commitment to the Canadian-facilitated process, with a United Nations official agreeing to be present as an observer. They (Ambazonian leaders) said they will engage in the process “cautiously.”
Canada had earlier helped to finance a Swiss-led peace mediation process that began in 2019, but the Cameroonian government withdraw from the process last September.
Days before, Ambazonian proclaimed leader , Chris Anu said on VOA that he will be joining his brothers to form a strong bond to represent Ambazonia in the Canada led negotiation peace talks
Backing out of this peace talks gives less hope to the Cameroon Anglophone crisis that has displaced over a million people, hundreds imprisoned, more than 200 villages burnt down, an estimated 6,000 deaths recorded with the two English-speaking regions facing multiple gun battles daily between armed gun men and government forces and at least one person is killed everyday.
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