Buea (National Times)-Cameroon’s Prime Minister, Chief Dr Joseph Dion Ngute says president Paul Biya has granted what he terms ‘Virtual amnesty’ to separatists fighters who lay down their arms and return to civilian life.
Dion Ngute echoed the concept of ‘virtual amnesty’ during and audience he granted a delegation of leaders from the National Youth Council, South West branch. He urged the youth leaders to convince their peers in the bushes to disarm and return to the republic because, Paul Biya has already granted them what he called a “virtual amnesty.”
“This crisis is your crisis. I am counting on you, youth, to talk to these people who are in the bushes. The Head of State has already granted them a virtual amnesty. So why do they still stay there,” Dion Ngute questioned.
This is one of the first times the word “amnesty” is used in the course of the conflict. However, it remains a mystery to many as such amnesty programmes are always elaborate. Amnesty is usually granted not only to those still carrying arms but even to those who have been jailed because of the same conflict or uprising.
A similar situation took place in the Niger Delta in 2009 when all fighters linked to the Niger Delta conflict were gracefully pardoned including their commanders. Moreover, when the amnesty was launched in Niger Delta, military operations were suspended.
While Dion Ngute is preaching peace in Buea and Bamenda, fighting continues with more lives lost and houses burnt. Certainly it would take more than just an announcement to convince the people, most of who are not represented in Dion Ngute’s sensational trip to the North West and South West regions.