For a long time, Cameroon has been an oasis of peace in the Central African zone. Threats posed at its frontiers like the multiplication of refugees from the DRC, Mali and Northern Nigeria have been tackled without putting in danger the Cameroonian population. Since 2010, the threats posed by Boko Haram has been spreading widely: Alarming increase of refugees and occasional kidnapping of strangers in the Northern region of Cameroon. Despite all efforts put in place to negotiate peace, the attacks have multiplied. In 2010 therefore, Cameroon declared war on the Islamic sect through its President Paul Biya while in Paris. The sect therefore showed its interest to getting into war with Cameroon by waging open attacks. War then broke out. All Cameroonians came out so as to preserve their integrity and this sect was challenged once more. Boko Haram didn’t stop there; it then opted for a guerrilla tactic which was a prove of the superiority of the Cameroonian armed forces over them. They witnessed once more a spectacular defeat but opted for a third option- suicide bombings perpetrated by young women. Cameroonians had only seen this before on TV. Today, its no longer a dream. It’s a fact which Cameroonians need to accept and learn how to effectively manage so as to come out of it heads high. Basing my thoughts on the socio-anthropological organisation of the country, I think every Cameroonian has a role to play in assuring Cameroon’s victory over this terrorist group. When Maroua was hurt, we saw all Cameroonians standing up as one to mourn and pray. Right now many are asking themselves in what ways they could be useful to their country during this crisis. I therefore took upon myself to make some suggestions which seem little or weightless at first sight but which could help many Cameroonians to better manage the Boko Haram threat.
i- Avoid Hateful Speeches
This is defined by Wikipédia as ‘any speech, gesture or conduct, writing, or display which is forbidden because it may incite violence or prejudicial action against or by a protected individual or group, or because it disparages or intimidates a protected individual or group’. This is very helpful to Cameroonians during the crisis posed by the Boko Haram threat which they’ve been going through. Traditional and social media are the tools through which hate speeches could be passed to the general public. After the attacks in Fotokol and Maroua, we heard all kinds of theories and speeches in our private radio stations, some national and international media and social networks. The intimidating and heart hurting photos spread across the Internet as wild fire. Mutual accusations followed: some accused the Government, others the Muslim community and even the French for masterminding these attacks on Cameroon for economical interests. Some rejected these theses, while others adopted them and tried to incite Cameroonians to hatred. These are attitudes all Cameroonians must avoid during this crisis because it doesn’t help anybody. It instead nails the country. Remember, United we stay strong, divided we fail.
ii- Stand out as ONE
Cameroon is made up of more than 240 ethnic groups with a multitude of dialects. Cameroon had more than 21 candidates for the 2011 presidential elections which is a proof of the diversity of its culture, values and convictions. Cameroon is made up of a linguistic and religious richness and this has never been a problem. This country could have more than 10 000 dialects but its more than 22million inhabitants are able to talk and understand each other. Cameroonians are as proud to celebrate Christmas as well as the Ramadan. The Re-unification of this country has been described by some as the ‘imperfect blend’ but you could all trust me, this is not the time for that. This is the time to stand up as one and fight the common enemy (Boko Haram) which is out to destroy all what we’ve built so far. To this effect, every Cameroonian, be it from the ruling party or the opposition, be it a Muslim or christian must support the fight. This is the only proof you love your country.
iii- Stay vigilant
All Cameroonians must remain watchful and on the alert of danger. It is time to know your neighbours and those who live in your quarter. It is time to be careful so as to detect strangers with unusual attitudes.They could be suicide bombers or members of the sect. The issue with the sect is, they don’t care if you are christian or Muslim, they don’t care if you are civilian or in the military. All they want to do is see you or your loved ones terrorised or dead. To this effect, its necessary to always take your identification documents with you to ease security checks by the police. It will be beneficial to avoid keeping late nights, loitering, quarrels, unnecessary gatherings or fighting. This will make our environment safer as there will be no hiding place for Boko Haram and its partisans. If there is need, call the police and stay safe.