Cameroon Anglophone crisis: Guerrilla Warfare now the only option?

  The English speaking part of Cameroon now christened the Federal Republic of Ambazonia has opted for what seems to be generally acclaimed workable to achieve set objectives – Guerilla warfare. This unconventional warfare was widely propagated by one of separatist’s political activist and social media influencer Mark Bareta in late 2017.

Pro-arm struggle Anglophone separatist leaders have employed guerrilla warfare methods to counter what they called “occupation forces from La Republique du Cameroun”. Increase military crackdown by the Cameroon military in the two Anglophone regions have met with stiff resistance from the “guerrillas” which has resulted in 26 deaths on the part of military according to AFP report.

What people fail to accept is that Biya is a Machiavellian loyalist and believes in ruling by suppression in civilian attire.

According to random public opinion as gathered by, increase human and material cost on the state inflicted by the separatists’ guerrillas may be the best way to oblige the government to embark on finding a lasting solution to a prototype contaminating political crisis. However, to better appraise this assertion, I met with an iconic political analyst whose identity he chose not to be revealed and this is what he had to say:

“Hmm! what people fail to accept is that Biya is a Machiavellian loyalist and believes in ruling by suppression in civilian attire. I understand why public opinion should be tilted to think that way. It shows how desperate the people need a positive change from the present status quo. Biya cannot submit to any pressure for concrete dialogue whether from the national or international community without first and most importantly to him and his cabal securing the best possible way to safeguard state power.

That is why it may be shocking for you to know that the ruling party’s caucus was just taken unaware by the lawyers and teachers in 2016 demanding what they had never thought will ever resurface which is a return to federalism. What is actually happening now is that the cabal is struggling to put pen to paper in order to see how to craft out a pseudo decentralization that will not dislodge juicy powers from the center. As a political observer, I understand that it is quite complicated for the government to think out a workable solution as fast as the people demand since separatist have understood and are making matters worse through guerilla warfare tactics”

Now, what is Guerilla warfare?

Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare in which a small group of combatants, such as paramilitary personnel, armed civilians, use military tactics including ambushes, sabotages, raids, hit-and-run-tactics, and mobility to fight a larger and less-mobile traditional military. Guerrilla groups are a type of violent non-state actor. Guerrilla warfare has its own peculiarities to conventional warfare

  • It is mostly used in wars that involve political conflict
  • The “guerrillas” are most of the time the people fighting for their country (RUF)
  • The guerrillas depend on internal and external help.
  • Guerrillas rely on the people to supply soldiers.
  • Guerrillas are usually armed lightly.
  • Guerrillas use weapons taken from their enemies and any they can afford including machetes, spears, bow and arrow, local explosives and others.
  • Guerrillas use unconventional tactics at night with surprise attacks from the flanks and rear of the opposing army. Once the opposing is weaken, they use conventional tactics.

In Africa guerrilla warfare have been applied in Kenya (Mau Mau) 1952-63, Cameroon (UPC) 1955-70, Congo/Zaire (Kwilu) 1964-8, Madagascar 1947, and Mozambique (RENAMO) 1977-92. (Weigert, Stephen, 1996).

For the case of Cameroon history is going to repeat itself as the Dean of African presidents Paul Biya is to wear the shoes of Ahidjo (UPC) and fight against (Ambazonia)

Just as the “Ambazonia secretary of state for communication” Chris Anu recently condemned the sporadic violent approach employed by the separatist fighters, non-violence, and diplomatic push has long been the official stance of the Interim government led by its president Sisiku Ayuk Tabe now detained incommunicado in Cameroon. Nonetheless, the “acting interim president of Ambazonia” Dr. Sako Ikome Samuel on February 11, 2018, officially declared the era of “self-defense”.

It is practically clear therefore to conclude that a struggle that began by mass protest with peace plants and submission of petitions in high-rank offices has now taken a twist of no return which is that of an arms struggle.

The International Crisis Group (ICG) has reported that the ADF, along with three other militias, represent the main groups which count more than 300 fighters (ICG) estimate. There are also 10 much smaller but violent factions engaged in the conflict. Few claim attacks and it’s difficult to know exactly who is responsible, said ICG researcher Hans De Marie Heungoup.

The main issue for Ambazonian groups is that they really lack finance. If they had money to buy weapons, train and feed their people, they could raise an army” Hans De Marie Heungoup.

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