Sunday, 18 March 2018

Front Page

Terror in the Land:

Ambazonia forces kidnap GCE Board Chair Leke Tambo
Prof. Ivo Leke Tambo
The Board Chair of the Cameroon General Certificate of Education Board, Prof. Ivo Leke Tambo has reportedly been kidnapped in Lebialem by Ambazonian Defence Forces.
In a video making rounds on social media, the board chair is seen stripped almost naked in a bush in the presence of faceless gunmen. The Median can however not independently verify the authenticity of the video.
            Another video also showed the ‘Amba Tigers’ molesting the occupants of a passenger bus. The driver of the bus had been put to the ground and was begging the assailants not to kill him with their gun. “Spare my life i beg of you; I am innocent.”
            The “Lebialem Ambazonia Forces” said they were taking the passengers hostage and that they were expecting a response from Menji.
            According to sources in Lebialem, Prof. Leke Tambo was leading a delegation on Saturday morning to his native Lewoh (Menji) to organize a ceremony to thank the Head of State for his appointment and that of Paul Tasong, the new Minister Delegate in the Ministry of Economy and Planning.
            The delegation was stopped on the road by the gunmen as they left Alou for Menji. Heavy fighting reportedly ensued between the Amba forces and the few gendarmes who struggled in vain to defend the delegation.

Council of Ministers:

Biya Down-plays Growing Insecurity in NW & SW
By Innocent Kum in Yaounde
President Biya Presided the Council of Ministers on Thursday
President Paul Biya has urged members of government to redouble efforts in providing solutions to the multiple challenges faced by the country.
            Addressing a ministerial council meeting Thursday March 15 in Yaounde, President Paul Biya said team work and commitment is vital to the country’s drive towards emergence. 
            Before tasking the ministers during the Unity Palace meeting which came a week after the 2 March 2o18 cabinet shake-up, Biya congratulated those who were newly promoted, as well as those who were maintained. He urged them to strive to be worthy of the trust bestowed upon them.
            “I urge you to work diligently so that, together, we can meet the multiple challenges confronting our country. Our people expect nothing less from us,” he added, before stating that “...Despite an unfavourable global economic context, the consolidation of our economic performance, the improvement of our people’s living conditions and the fight against unemployment must remain the Government’s core priorities.” 
            He continued: “In this light, it is necessary to pursue the smooth implementation of the Program concluded with the IMF. There is also an urgent need to finalize the implementation of major structuring projects, the Emergency Growth Acceleration Plan and the Special Youth Plan. The operationalization of the Kribi Deep Sea Port and the second bridge over the Wouri augur well in that regard.” 
            The president was quick to add that “Despite these excellent performances, we must not forget that much remains to be done. As I underscored recently in my message to the Nation, the Government should continue to put a special focus on outreach services, such as water and electricity supply, health, and road infrastructure.”

Council of Ministers Meetings:

Security, Decentralization, Elections Top on Agenda
All 68 Ministers were present at the Ministerial Council Meeting
The President of the Republic, Paul BIYA has on Thursday 15 March 2018 chaired a Council of Ministers meeting at the Unity Palace. It was his first contact with Members of Government after the 2nd March cabinet reshuffle.
            In his message to the ministers, the Head of State laid emphasis on the need to: combat insecurity in the Far North, North West and South West Regions; accelerate the decentralisation process; and ensure the smooth organisation of upcoming elections in Cameroon.
            The putting in place of the Constitutional Council and the hosting of the Africa Cup of Nations were also highlighted.

Kumba Bike Riders in a Dilemma:

‘Amba’ Hit Boys Threaten- If you respect the ban on ‘Okada’ you will hear from us
The president of one of the three bike riders’ unions in Kumba has told The Median that bike riders have been threatened with death by ‘Ambazonia hit boys’ if ever they respected the ban order by the government.
By Doh Bertrand Nua in Kumba
Kumba Bike Riders Facing Threats From Ambazonia Tigers
The president spoke to this reporter after a meeting of Kumba bike riders with Meme SDO, Chamberlin Ntou’ou Ndong to seek better ways of implementing the decision of the Minister of Territorial Administration, Paul Atanga Nji and that of Southwest Governor, Bernard Okalia Bilai suspending motorbike taxis in Kumba.
            “We are facing death threats from Ambazonia odeshi boys who have entered Kumba and are threatening us for accepting to get our bikes duly registered before they can circulate in and around town,” said the bikers’ president, noting that they are now caught in a dilemma because if they flout the instructions of the administration they would be considered by government as supporting the separatists, while if they obey the SDO’s orders they are tagged as ‘blacklegs’ by the ‘Ambazonia fighters’.
            The bikers’ president noted that they have been pushed to a very tight corner, even as they are sensitizing their colleagues on the importance of identifying themselves before plying the streets with their bikes.

Gov’t to Pursue Crack- down on Ambazonians

President Paul Biya Thursday convened a cabinet meeting and vowed to push ahead with a military crackdown on English-speaking separatists in the majority francophone country.
            Cameroon has had a tortuous colonial history that saw it pass from German rule to French and British hands and the Anglophone minority complain of being marginalised by the French-speaking elite.
            “The efforts (of the security forces) must be continued, especially to ensure a return of normal economic and social activity,” Biya told the first cabinet meeting held since 2015.
            On October 1, separatists declared two regions as the self-proclaimed republic of “Ambazonia”, marking a turning point for the country’s English-speaking minority, which makes up around a fifth of the population.
            Biya dispatched troops, combat helicopters and armoured vehicles to root out the dissidents, forcing tens of thousands to flee to neighbouring Nigeria.
            At least 28 soldiers have been killed in the violence, according to an AFP tally, and two state employees have been kidnapped.
            The civilian death toll remains unclear, as non-governmental organisations and independent media are barred from the area.

Biya Says the Gov’t is Winning the War Against Ambazonia

President Paul Biya, on Thursday held his first cabinet meeting since 2015 and on the back of a recent reshuffle. The event took place at the Unity Palace in the capital Yaounde.
            According to a statement on the website of the presidency, Biya’s address to his appointees centered around security, decentralization, upcoming elections and the hosting of the African Cup of Nations among other issues.
            There was no explanation as to why he called the session and no other officials were permitted to speak about what went on in the conclave.
            Portions of Biya’s address focusing on security said the government was winning the fight to secure the country’s Anglophone regions and the Far North – which is riled by incessant attacks from the Boko Haram group.
            “Thanks to the firm action of our defence and security forces, we have been able to drastically curb the atrocities perpetrated by criminal groups in the Far North, North-West and South-West Regions.
            “Efforts in that regard need to be continued, especially to ensure that economic and social activities return to normalcy,” he added.
            The president had told his cabinet that “the best way to serve the country is to do everything, to make all the sacrifices that are needed,” the prime minister said.
            “There are a lot of things to do,” Biya had added, singling out the Africa Cup of Nations annual soccer tournament that Cameroon is to host next year, and the presidential election in October this year.
            Biya has ruled the Central African nation since taking over from a retired predecessor in 1982 and then winning six successive elections.
            The meeting came as Cameroon faces a violent separatist movement in its western Anglophone region that a military crackdown has failed to quell. The rest of Cameroon speaks French. In an apparent attempt to smooth it over, Biya appointed two officials from the region to top positions earlier this month.