AFTER a three-month blackout, the Cameroonian government has announced the restoration of internet services to its two restive English-speaking regions, which are protesting over their alleged marginalisation.
The government pulled the plug on the southwest and northwest regions in January, claiming that social media was being used to fan a rebellious civil disobedience campaign.
What had begun last year as demonstrations over the imposition of French education and legal systems in the minority English-speaking west, quickly grew into demands for a return to the federal system that had existed until 1972. That agitation is backed by school boycotts and “ghost town” protests, with the government responding with detentions and crackdowns.
There has also been a radicalisation of dissent, with demands for outright secession by an umbrella group called the Southern Cameroons Ambazonia Consortium United Front.
In a statement yesterday, SCACUF said the lifting of the internet blackout was “too little, too late” and vowed that resistance would continue. Meanwhile, historical links between “Southern Cameroon” and neigbouring eastern Nigeria appear to be reviving. The resurgence of Nigeria’s own “Biafra” separatist movement is leading to a cross-border coalition of separatists.