Ambassador Nagy, who will be visiting Cameroon as part of an African tour told Jeune Afrique that: “I have received more e-mails about the Cameroon Anglophone crisis than on any other problem in Africa –at least 10 to 20 every day with photos and very disturbing videos of people be-headed with machetes; and other atrocities committed by Cameroonian security forces.” He expressed US concern Yaoundé authorities have either failed to realize the gravity of the escalating Anglophone crisis; or they are in denial there’s an insurgency and have refused to address it. [Read a synthesis of the interview below that was published in Jeune Afrique in French.]
Q-In Cameroon, the US recently suspended some military assistance...
“The USA announced that it has suspended its military cooperation with Cameroon and this is indeed unfortunate because Cameroon is an important partner in the fight against Boko Haram terrorists in the northern parts of the country. But we have very strict rules and regulations concerning military cooperation. America does not support militaries that commit human rights abuses. Some of the sanctions, especially those dealing with direct military assistance went into effect immediately after it was established that Cameroonian soldiers committed gross human rights violations. Generally, there has been a reduction of US assistance to Cameroon because of the way the government is handling the Anglophone crisis. We are worried that the government has either failed to realize the gravity of the situation; or is in denial, and refuses to address the crisis. This is particularly frustrating because we know there are certain things that the government could have done to defuse the tension.
Q-So, these targeted sanctions went into effect immediately...
“I have received more e-mails about the Cameroon Anglophone crisis than on any other problem in Africa –at least 10 to 20 every day with photos and very disturbing videos of people be-headed with machetes; and other atrocities committed by Cameroonian security forces. Granted, the government can legitimately claim that radical separatists’ forces have also committed atrocities; they are preventing schools and hospitals from functioning normally and even targeting people who violate their orders.
Q-Will America suspend all assistance to Cameroon?
“Generally speaking, US humanitarian assistance does not go through the government; what this means is that assistance in areas like HIV/AIDS prevention for example will continue to be delivered directly to those in need using partner NGOs. But the government must de-escalate the situation; failure which, the US will suspend all development assistance; in addition to military assistance that has already been suspended.“
Ambassador Tibor Nagy,
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs