CAMEROON-AMBAZONIAN WAR: After Bakassi, Nigeria may lose 3 more LGAs to Cameroon

December 13, 2023

CAMEROON-AMBAZONIAN WAR: After Bakassi, Nigeria may lose 3 more LGAs to Cameroon
“Three Local Government Areas (Boki, Obanliku and Etung) in Nigeria have been on the receiving end of the spilling conflict”, Richard Inoyo.

•Ambazonian separatists attack Obanliku, Boki, Etung LGAs in C/River“

•Rep, CSO raise alarm, task International community, FG

•We’re intervening —Information commissioner

•Joint security forces’ve been mobilised —CP Grimah

  • By Clifford Ndujihe & Ike Uchechukwu

TWENTY-ONE years after losing the oil-rich Bakassi Peninisula to the Republic of Cameroon, Nigeria is on the verge of losing more local councils and communities to the Francophine country.

While Bakasi was lost at the International Court of Justice in the Hague, in 2002, no fewer than three LGAs may be lost via conquests.

In a shocking act of violence, Ambazonian separatists, who are fighting with Cameroon for freedom, have launched a brutal attack on the peaceful community of Belegete in Obanliku Local Government Area of Cross River State.

Other LGAs affected are Boki and Etung.

The assailants struck, last Tuesday, December 5, and also at the weekend, leaving a trail of death and destruction in their wake.

Confirming the devastating incident, Mr. Peter Akpanke, the House of Representatives member representing Obanliku/Bekwarra/Obudu Federal Constituency, expressed deep anguish over the merciless assault.

Speaking with Vanguard, he condemned the heinous actions of the Ambazonian separatists, emphasizing the urgent need for international intervention and the support of the Federal Government.

According to Akpanke, a traditional ruler, HRH Chief Ogweshi Francis, was killed during the onslaught. His corpse was found in a nearby river where he was dumped by his killers.

“The separatists showed no mercy, abducting an additional 29 individuals from the Belegete community.”

Highlighting the gravity of the situation, Akpante said: “I’m calling upon the international community to intervene promptly and collaborate with the Nigerian government in apprehending the perpetrators and bringing them to justice.”

He also stressed that such acts of violence, which disrupt the peace and stability of local communities, cannot be tolerated.

Vanguard gathered that many Nigerians have fled the community in the face of the attacks, with many seeking refuge in a nearby ranch.

The Commissioner for Information, Mr. Erasmus Ekpang, told Vanguard on telephone that some of the victims, traumatized by the horrific events, are in dire need of support and protection.

Acknowledging the urgency of the situation, the commissioner assured the public that the government was actively engaging in measures to assist and safeguard those affected.

Vanguard gathered that the Ambazonian separatists, known for their campaign for the independence of the English-speaking regions of Cameroon, have been increasingly carrying out violent attacks in bordering territories including three LGAs in Cross River State- Boki, Obanliku and Etung.

The Belegete incident marks a grave escalation in their aggression, with innocent civilians becoming the direct targets of their brutality.

Joint security forces’ve been mobilised—Police

Contacted, Commissioner of Police, Cross River State , CP Augustine Grimah, told Vanguard that joint security forces had been mobilized to launch a comprehensive operation and calmness had returned to the area.

“The terrain is a very difficult one, you can’t even access the place with vehicle except motorcycles. Our men went in there and, we saw what we saw but I can assure you that the matter is not being treated with kids gloves. We are holistically looking at it as I speak,” he said.

Why Nigeria must act swiftly —CSO

Decrying the development, Country Director of the Citizens’ Solution Network, CSN, Mr. Richard Inoyo, in a statement, urged the Federal Government to act swiftly because the impact of the Ambazonian separatists attacks was hurting Cross River and Nigeria.

His words: “Three Local Government Areas (Boki, Obanliku and Etung) in Nigeria have been on the receiving end of the spilling conflict especially as regards the destructions of villages, kidnapping and mass displacement of Nigerian citizens living in those LGAs due to the actions of Ambazonian separatists who are now turning these local government areas to their attack launching Garrison and as revenue points to raise money for their war efforts.

“For instance, Obanliku, a Local Government Area in Cross River State (famous for its mountains), that is 207 miles from Calabar and 293 miles from Abuja has suffered heavily from the actions of Ambazonian separatist fighters who have long invaded their communities and turned same to military bases while terrorizing, killing, kidnapping the people and setting their villages ablaze. Pregnant women, children, elderly citizens, the disabled, the sick and injured have suffered unprecedentedly from the invasion and destruction of a community like Belegete in Obanliku by Ambazonian separatist fighters.

“The visible absence of the Nigerian Military to protect these communities is further endangering the besieged Local Government Areas, with tens of hundreds displaced from their ancestral homes and some people killed. We are yet to see the Cross River State House of Assembly even prioritizing or deliberating on these matters nor any Senator or House of Representatives Members interceding for the security and humanitarian actions a community like Belegete needs urgently.

This is so sad as the people suffer ethnic cleansing and mass exodus in the hands of the occupying Ambazonian separatist fighters.

“Citizens’ Solution Network is calling on the Nigerian Government and the Cross River State Government to provide urgent security and humanitarian relief materials to Obanliku as several communities suffer from mass displacement and their decoupling from their farms and means of livelihoods. Children, Pregnant Women, Elderly Citizens and those injured need urgent medical support and humanitarian assistance because they desperately need it along with security of their communities so that they can return back. We don’t need to wait for hundreds to be slaughtered before the Nigerian government and its representing officials live up to the oath of protecting our people.

“We call on the Nigerian President, Mr. Bola Tinubu, and the Governor of Cross River State, Senator Bassey Otu to act and bring the needed assistance and security the people in Obanliku need urgently. We ask all Nigerians to do what they can to support humanitarian and medical efforts in ways they can.”

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