Open access peer-reviewed chapter

The Scramble for Cyberspace: Internet-Based Reporting of Genocide in the Southern Cameroon-Ambazonia Crisis

By Nanche Billa Robert

Submitted: July 28th 2020Reviewed: October 12th 2020Published: October 29th 2020

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.94458

Downloaded: 149

Abstract

The post-truth politics has been ascendant in Cameroon since the beginning of the Anglophone crisis. Consequently, the country’s political culture has been influenced by appeals to emotion, usually ignoring factual rebuttals. We collected original data using Facebook accounts which are a preserved archive of the way hundreds of millions of Southern Cameroonians and other relate to one another and share genocidal information. The data indicate that the government’s stance on bearing genocidal responsibility changes continuously when internal and external actors pressurize it to investigate crimes committed against humanity as it was the case in the 2020 Ngarbuh massacre and it either remains stagnant or the blames are shifted to the separatists when no serious pressure is exerted on it. The more the truth about crimes against humanity is hidden, the more tension increases, the more trust is destroyed and the more the war will prolong and widen the divide between Ambazonians and La Republique du Cameroon. Martial and cosmetic solutions only help to radicalize the population and instigate them to defy state institutions. Ambazonians’ responses indicate that they did not have to rely on an international community but themselves and it prompted them to take arms and fight the more.

Keywords

  • alternative media
  • Facebook
  • genocide
  • massacre
  • social movements
  • ICT
  • post-truth politics
  • Ambazonia

1. Introduction

Tensions between the English-speaking community which forms about one fifth of the national population have been high due to an ongoing separatist movement. It escalated considerably in October, 2017 with the unilateral proclamation of the Ambazonian Federal State by Sissiku Ayuk Tabe who was later on arrested in Nigeria with his Cabinet at the Nera hotel and transferred to Cameroon where he, is serving a life imprisonment term [1]. In 2016, lawyers, teachers and students in the two Anglophone regions initially carried out demonstrations and strikes which eventually engulfed a wider section of the population. This mobilization was due to their marginalization by the Francophone-dominated government in which they were highly under-represented in nearly all aspects of national life: political appointments and professional training and had been treated as second-class citizens since their reunification. They complained that their vibrant economic and political institutions had been completely wiped out, and their education and judicial systems had been neglected and degraded [2]. How did activists succeed to raise the awareness of the population? What were the reactions of the population to the various videos and posts sent?

Social movements are one of the main ways in which people collectively give voice to their grievances and concerns, and demand that something be done about it [3]. This has been facilitated recently by the media environment that has radically changed with the development of new media technologies which has helped activists to actively spread videos which exposed security forces abusing human rights (by suppressing peaceful gatherings, beating, harassing, arresting and killing protesters, burning their houses, schools and hospitals) in order to produce a counter-narrative to the ‘official story’ that main-stream media had been producing. The videos show appalling images not just of how French-speaking soldiers tortured Anglophones but also their inability to communicate with them adequately although they share the same country [2]. The various videos incriminated Cameroon security forces and therefore as a result, the Cameroon government shut-down the Internet in January 2017 for 93 days in the tension-ridden Anglophone zone. It was after the Anglophone teachers, lawyers, and students went on strike over alleged social bias in favor of Francophone. Education, financial, and health-care institutions as well as businesses that depended on the Internet access were affected. International bodies pressurized the government to restore internet access.

Although Internet access was restored in April 2017, the network was very unstable. In October 2017, the government effected a second Internet blockade, targeting social media and apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook where activists sent videos incriminating the government. It continuously affected the country economically, and many citizens were forced to travel back and forth to regions with Internet access for business or information. It is worth-noting that Social media is important because it allows activists to get in contact with people locally, regionally, nationally and even internationally [4]. These activists mostly based in the western world understand the characteristics of their target audience (What they call the people at Ground Zero) and are able to personalize their messages to reflect the situation of their audience more appropriately on popular platforms. Facebook allows users to post, like and share content (pictures, videos, articles, etc) on sensitive issues with just the click of a button to a much large audience as much as possible.

Rather than referring to satirical material, fake news refer to the trend of Internet-based publications purporting to be genuine news sources which propagate inaccurate stories based on rumor or blatant untruths [5]. Our objective in this write-up is to examine how the social media is population-friendly by showing the reactions of the population to the Internet-based information. We equally made an effort to show how the activists and the government struggle to outsmart each other in promoting their narratives in the cyber-space. Our attention will be paid on the Ngarbuh massacre because of the struggle between the activists and the government each struggling to dominate the cyberspace by promoting its narratives.

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2. Literature review

The rise and spread of new ICTs has transformed the way that society is organized, which of course include social movements. Internets and SMS messaging for examples have enabled activists to coordinate protest in record time, giving raise to the ‘flash mob’ phenomenon [6]. ‘Flash mob’ is a term that originally referred to social experiments, and countercultural movements to reclaim ‘public spaces’ [5]. The Anglophone movement can be dubbed as the ‘Twitter Revolution’ or ‘Facebook Revolution’ emphasizing the role of social media in diffusing videos of human rights abuses and to organize protest mobilizations both at the local and international levels [3].

ICTs transform mainstream dominated media systems into multifaceted media environment. Media today are more diverse and offer more options for people to access political information. Social movement actors also communicate political messages through a wide range of interconnected outlets, and the advent of ICTs has not only broaden but has also changed some of the forms this communication has taken, its impact and its reach.

One of the key way social movements engage in cultural resistance is by means of the production and dissemination of multiple forms of media in order to mobilize support, to reach out for supports beyond those already in agreement with movement claims, and to increase the legitimacy of their claims and demands. Social movements operate at a considerable disadvantage when trying to influence news portrayals of issues than do their better-funded opposing groups and organization [3].

ICTs are unquestionably central to activists’ repertoires of communication, moblisation, and deliberation processes and have been harnessed in many creative and strategic ways to increase the power and reach of social movement communication and action. Alternative media produces strong counter-narrative to the “official’ story which in this case was that the separatist caused the atrocities. Communication flows from the mainstream media to activist alternative media which is then disseminated via listserves and telephone as people called each other to talk about what had happened and to question the official version of events. Information flew in this case from Rene Sadi and Atanga Nji from the mainstream media to the alternative media and the information was given quite a different interpretation.

Activists in the Ambazonian crisis created a strategy which [7] considered as alternatives which is the creation of their own independent media or public forums of communication in order to communicate for a lack of interest or bias by established media. Alternatively, in the Ambazonian crisis, many videos were produced that facilitated the mobilization and production of a counter-narrative to the ‘official story’ which indicates that there is no Anglophone problem in Cameroon and the professionalism of the security forces. The Internet makes the process of sharing easier, faster and with a potentially larger audience than ever before. These messages in the videos from the alternative media environment have made their ways into mainstream mass media like the various reports carried by BBC, France 24, TV5 monde etc.

One of the concepts that has occupied the political area in Cameroon has been the Post-truth politics. This refers to a political culture wherein debate is more emotional and disconnected from the details of policy, and the ignoring of factual rebuttal. The most popular fake news stories during the Ambazonian crisis have been shared more widely than the most popular mainstream media reports. The impact of fake news on the construction of a post-truth media consumer’s reality is profound. Post-truth differs from traditional contesting and falsifying of facts by relegating facts and expert opinions to be of secondary importance relative to appeal to emotion. This was less notable before the invention of the Internet and related social changes. Post-truth politics has been ascendant in Cameroon since the beginning of the Anglophone crisis. The Cameroonian government preaching one and indivisible Cameroon hardly makes reference to the cases where the majority Francophone-Cameroon abused the constitution to disfavor the English-speaking. They equally denied the existence of an anglophone problem which [2] shows that it really exists.

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3. Methodology

We collected the qualitative data of acts of genocide in Southern Cameroon used in this work from the Internet from seasoned activists’ accounts who had sent out numerous posts on numerous issues to their targeted population. They served as a fertile ground of textual material: videos, blog posts, comments, social networking posts which are all as [8] puts it, are parts of the expanse of qualitative material online. It is described by [9] as “a new continent, rich in resources but in parts most perilous.” which had “lain undiscovered, unmined and uninhabited” for the past 30 years.

Activists posted many materials online to awaken Southern Cameroonians’ consciousness of the events of the War of independence, therefore Facebook was a fruitful site of the way as [10] puts it, hundreds of millions of Southern Cameroonians and other relate to one another and share genocidal information: it provide an entirely preserved archive of data featuring, write-up, friends’ comments, pictures, about the Ambazonia war of independence. We judged the information as a true reflection of participants’ minds, uses and behavior. Therefore, the participants were ‘doing’ things with their postings. As may be expected from our theoretical stance, our questions focused on how people talked and interacted on Facebook of events of massacres in the Southern Cameroon. The symbols of the posts to the public drew our as well as the people’s reactions. We considered their comments in order to understand how their various posts either raise their awareness to the independence of Southern Cameroon as the activists promoted or to the concept of “one and indivisible Cameroon” as the government of Cameroon did everything to maintain the souvereignty of the nation. So the target population was the population of the Southern Cameroon who received information from both ends. How did they react to this information was our main point of focus.

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4. Internet-based posts on the Ngarbuh massacre

On the 16th February, 2020 activists and other people inundated the cyberspace with the picture below which drew the attention of the entire world because it was a genocidal act that involved the massacre of children and pregnant women who were buried in a mass grave. The caption was:

“These are some of the Victims of the Ngarbuh Massacre, in Donga Mantung Division, in Cameroon’s Northwest region. Locals have blamed the military and it’s allied militias for the attack. The death toll now stands at 38” [11] (Figure 1).

Figure 1.

Picture of the slained children and their grave. Source: Atlantic Chronicles [11].

On the 15th March, 2020, activists sent another post in order to prick the conscience of humanity which stated: “One month on…#NGARBUH still haunts me! Why did you kill our innocent children Biya1??? May this reminder prick the conscience of the world. 14th Feb #Massacre still on my mind. Sleep well Angels…”.

On April 30th, activists sent a video showing the mass burial of pregnant women, children, and other women and men who were in Ngarbuh and asked a rhetorical question of what happened to the authors.2 Another video showed clearly the wailing of people in the background which indicated that people had wounds in their hearts that would take time to heal [12].

Activists sent ceaselessly posts on the heartlessness of some of the elite of the region who celebrated the massacre. The following article was sent on the 1st June 2020 and the video had been deleted at the time we consulted it on Facebook:

“This was 14th February 2020 at 7:10 am, when #GerardNgalla got news that the #NgarbuhMassacre went successfully as they had planned. In celebration Gerard had his breakfast live on Facebook. He was congratulated by many, I mean many from Donga-Mantung, at the moment that we were mourning our children and pregnant women killed by Gerard and BIR. All I have to say is, there must be #Justice4Ngarbuh. Na last time be time3.” The following responses were received:

“How for market Gerald as heat dey come on for Ngarbuh gaz? Dat gaz dey smell so badly,” “Dealer,” and evn abused him saying: “pig-style eating! real wild animal in human form! Beast” [13].

Commentators were hard on him while relying on divine intervention and wishing the children a peaceful rest by saying, “God will protect them in Jesus name, Amen” “Lord God, have mercy!” “May they rest in peace” “Lord please help them…” “May God give them internal rest” “Heavenly rest is open unto them” “God is seeing everything,” “God help,” “May their souls rest in peace,” “Chai JESUS, Follow up this incident for us. You are the only righteous to do this and liberate your children from the hands of the heartless” [13].

The others call for resistance by imploring on the people’s feeling and pragmatism: “I asked the “amba camp” they said the Army should drop their guns. This is a Republic, the Army will never do that not even in the USA. Please please please for the sake of our junior ones I’m calling on you artist, musicians, bloggers, celebrities pleas for the sake of our junior ones. Just Imagine how these children were feeling, close your eyes and imagine. They would say our brothers and sisters abandoned us to die. Some will go to Ivory Coast and pay tribute to Arafat whereas he can go to Mamfe his homeland and pay tribute to the lost souls. Fame is like a candle.”

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5. What really happened at Ngarbuh

In accordance with the Post-truth politics, the government of Cameroon refutted the facts of the Ngarbuh massacre and even called those who had investigated it “bad angels” until they yielded to international pressure which demanded them to investigate it. After the investigation, they acknowledged that their military carried out the massacre.

5.1 Government defense minister

Cameroon’s defense minister made two statements: on February 17, he first announced that the government had opened an investigation and that its results would be made public. In a second statement he said the results of the investigation “may be made public at the appropriate time”. In both statements, he claimed that armed “terrorists” attacked government security forces and that the clash resulted in the explosion of fuel tanks, which destroyed several homes and killed a woman and four children. This statement was reiterated on February 18, in a press release, by the Minister of Communication [14, 15].

5.2 The minister of communication

After several days of accusations regarding the Ngarbuh Massacre, communication minister, René Emmanuel Sadi has finally broken the silence [16]. Despite high numbers from the UN, media reports and witnesses, minister Sadi confirmed the story of the army spokesperson in a statement on Monday February 17, saying only five civilian lives were lost, one woman and four children. The minister questioned: “How can one believe for a moment that an army as disciplined and civic-minded as ours can loot civilian properties and kill the people whose protection and security is their mission?” He reiterated that “under no circumstances have our defence and security forces deliberately undertaken to perpetrate abuses of any kind against the civilian populations at the service of whom they are assigned.” Minister Sadi ascertained that the situation in the North West and South West regions is gradually improving because the Head of State was implementing the recommendations of the Major National Dialog.

It was not the first time the government had refused any wrong doing; the government had made similar statements of atrocities that soldiers had committed against civilians in the Northern Region of Cameroon where military killed a woman and her child. In several occasions, government had placed the blame for crimes committed against civilians on Ambazonian separatists, even in cases of lack of evidence. The UN, USA, rights groups and politicians have asked for an investigation into the massacre, demanding thatwitnesses be protected.

5.3 Human right watch

Government forces [16] and armed members of the Fulani ethnic group killed at least 21 civilians, including 13 children and a pregnant woman, on February 14, 2020 in the village of Ngarbuh in Cameroon. They also set fire on five houses, looted many other property and beat residents. The corpses of some of the victims were found charred in their homes. The government denies that its troops have deliberately committed crimes. “The murders of civilians, including children, committed under horrific conditions, are heinous crimes that should be effectively and independently investigated and those responsible brought to justice,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, researcher senior on Africa at Human Rights Watch. They stressed that, the denial of the military involvement in the crimes would further traumatize the survivors and would only encourage the government troops to commit further atrocities.

They reported that, witnesses assured them that between 10 and 15 soldiers, including members of the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR), an elite unit of the Cameroonian army, and at least 30 armed Fulani first entered on foot in Ngarbuh 1, a district of Ngarbuh, on February 13 at around 11:00 p.m. and looted many houses. Some members of these forces then continued towards the Ngarbuh 2 neighborhood, looting houses and beating residents. At around 5:00 a.m. on February 14, a group of soldiers and armed Fulani attacked the Ngarbuh 3 neighborhood. They killed and burnt 21 civilians in four houses. Using satellite images taken on February 14 at 10:24, results indicated that several houses in Ngarbuh had been damage possibly with fire.

They narrated the story of a man who hid himself and saw the killing of his entire family as they tried to escape and set their house on fire. Residents affirmed that there was no confrontation between the armed separatists and the security forces and they did not hear any explosion so the killings were deliberate. It was aimed at punishing civilians suspected for harboring separatist fighters and were threatened not to harbor separatist fighters warning them that their village would be destroyed if they continued to harbor separatists (Figure 2).

Figure 2.

Picture of persons the military killed in Ngarbuh. Source: Human Rights Report [16].

In the state television, the minister of Territorial Administration responded to Human Right Watch by calling them “misguided angels” who were out to destroy the image of the Cameroonian defense forces who were doing a wonderful work. He called on them to rather condemn the atrocities of separatist fighters whom he called terrorists and threatened ending the activities of Human Watch Right because their report was erroneous. He added that they had given money to private media to weaken the institutions of the state [17, 18].

5.4 Coalition of civil society

On Friday 14th of February 2020, at around 3 a.m., an attack was launched in the village of Ngar 3 from Fiiru by a joint military operation consisting of six soldiers, three armed men belonging to ex-combatants of the restoration forces of the Virtual State of Ambazonia and numerous herdsmen. The operation burnt and shot everywhere. The joint mission was led to Ngarbuh by the former separatist fighter: Nfor Marcel called “Bullet” alongside two other ex-combatants who had left the war of independence and had joined the National Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration Committee.

The attack was bloody, no one was spared, some villagers were burned alive and those who could not find shelter were shot, as shown by the bodies of the victims scattered in the bushes. Pregnant women and children who escaped gunfire and machete sheltered in a house were all of them were burnt alive. Some survivors attested that a total of 13 houses and many villages were burnt beyond recognition. Among the 35 corpses discovered were three (3) pregnant women, three (3) children including a family of about 9 persons and other men and women. The victims consisted of about 9 men, 6 women, and 14 children. After the departure of the soldiers, some villagers, pastors and Ambazonian fighters, buried the victims on Saturday February 15, 2020 in numerous mass graves [19] (Figure 3).

Figure 3.

Mass grave of massacred civilians. Source: Mimi Mefo Info [19].

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6. The Government’s admittance of genocide

This was after the works of a commission which Paul Biya sanctioned February 17 to investigate the killings, following incessant national and international pressure across the board. The commission was headed by Divine Chemutah Banda, Chairperson of the National Commission of Human Rights and Freedoms, Bishop George Nkuo of the Kumbo Diocese and Imam Ahmadou Baba Sale, among others as members [20].

The government of Cameroon admitted a mixed Battalion commissioned by the Commander of the 52nd Motorized Infantry Battalion in Nkambe of Nangono Ze Charles Eric orchestrated the extrajudicial killings headed by Sergeant Baba Guiba mixed group of Ntubaw. Villagers narrated that three military elements and two Gendarme left Ntubaw at 10 pm on February 13, while the the head of them took along 17 members of the vigilantist group. At the entrance to Ngarbuh, they split in two to “take care” of Ngarbuh 1 & 2. At Ngarbuh 3 the site of the massacre, Sergeant Baba Guiba and 10 members of the vigilante waged an attack. The report shows that five terrorists were killed and arms were seized, and three women plus ten children were also killed. Due to panic, the soldiers and the members of the vigilante group covered the facts by burning houses. Sergeant Baba Guiba then returned to Ntubaw and deliberately sent a biased report to his hierarchy which the Government used for its communication. The report indicates that the corpses were actually exhumed in order to establish their facts and that disciplinary sanction were charted.

The following post went viral when the report was released “The Ngarbuh report by LRC is fake. Names of soldiers and military people mentioned in it do not exist. What a scam!”

Even most of the comments considered it to be a lie: “When you make lies part of you, there will come a time when the lies will turn to lie to you”, “It is no surprising issue to me. That is their best arts, lies telling. The report is just powder in the eye!, “Even some are fake not all are fake because sergeant Baba guida I know him personally”, “What to expect from endemic dysfunction? Without a verifiable system of records and accounting - anywhere in the world - it is impossible to implement Truth while so-called “civilized” cultures create all kinds of tools/instruments to enforce Truth”, “Could never be a true list, have they mentioned the DOs ,Governor, and ministers who were the real commanders,those names could be late soldiers or fake.”

The data indicate firstly that the government’s stance on bearing genocidal responsibility changes continuously when internal and external pressures are exerted on it to investigate crimes committed against humanity as it was the case in Ngarbuh and it remains stagnant or the blames are shifted to the separatists when no serious pressure is exerted on it as it was the cases of the Ofen-Tiben massacre, Menka-Pinyin massacre, Bakweri town massacre, Buea Town massacre, Muyuka massacre, Ekona massacre, Munyenge massacre, Kwa-Kwa massacre, Wum massacre, Weh massacre, Esu massacre, the killing of the baby Martha, the beheading of Sam Soya, the burning of mami Appih etc.

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7. Internet-based reactions to the Ngarbuh massacre

7.1 Internal reactions

7.1.1 National committee for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration

The Facebook page of the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Program, the National Committee for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (NCDDR) on 16th February, sent out a post which stated: “Amba want their kids to die so that they cry for genocide and that in so far as Ambazonian fighters continue to exist every body including children shall continue to be targeted’”. The same Facebook page attributed the killings of the Ambazonians and what happened as “collateral damage.” “For as long as Amba boys exist in your communities, there will be casualties, and some of them will be children. It is called collateral damage. AmbaFools sit abroad and say, we have to break eggs to make an omelette” [21].

7.1.2 The catholic church

On the 21st of February, Aaron Yancho Kaah and other sent a post entitled: “Kumbo diocese mourns the victims of the Ngarbuh massacre today”. He said the eucharistic prayer at the kumbo cathedral was in honor of the 35 slained innocent peasant farmers and children by Cameroun soldiers at the Ngarbuh village on the 14th February [22] Thousands of Catholic faithful around kumbo attended the solemn mass “which left many la Republique Cameroonian loyalists grumbling”. Prayers were offered for the bereaved families and they called on God to forgive the perpetrators of such a hate crime. His Eminence Christian Cardinal Tumi also attended.

However, it left many unanswered questions in the minds of Ambazonian and the the following comments were made: “Cameroon is Two and Very Divisible. We Ambazonian keep saying this yet Francophone think its a joke. Why is it the Catholic Church and not the government leading these proceedings if truly the region was peaceful? Why is there no official delegation from Yaounde in Kumbo for this funeral? Why did Paul Biya not declare a national day of mourning for the victims if truly it was a collateral damage? In Bafoussam the Prime Minister was there after the landslide right? Why are Anglophone hated so much by Francophone? We shall continue to fight until we achieve the Restoration of our lost Independence.”

Other considered Cardinal Tumi as a hypocrite, “What did Tumi go to do there after he had claimed that normalcy was returning and forcing evil special status on us which has embolden the ememy to kill us for his sports,”, “God is always on the throne”, “Silence means”, guilty”, “Chaaaaiiiiiiiii Ambazonians have suffered”, “The only thing that disturb me is what Cardina Tumi went there to do,”, “Adieu little friends, parents et al.”, “Rest well…”, “Make dem all go massa”, “I doubt whether God can forgive the perpetrators of this massacre. If He can forgive them, I think He goes wrong ---- He should deal with them squarely and nothing like forgiveness.”

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8. Ambazonians’ expression of anger and frustration

Post-truth politics is more emotional and consequently the most popular fake news stories during the Ambazonian crisis have been shared more widely than the most popular mainstream media reports. This permitted friends to share their emotions with others. This part treats the categorization of the comments of people who received the posts either from activists and people. The fact that the Cameroon government tried by all means to falsify the happenings in Ngarbuh provoked an outpour of emotion from Southern Cameroonians. They express their helplessness by calling for resistance till the last man standing, labeling political actors negatively, unearthing the wickedness and inhumanity of the military forces, expressing the need for divine intervention, showing optimism for independence, indicating how the state has failed to protect its citizens, considering international bodies as being unfair and powerless etc.

No Facebook posts received as many comments as the one which carried the reaction of the minister of communication in which he styled the military as professionals and the separatist fighters as terrorists [15]. Ambazonians knew the truth which other Cameroonians did not know. After the killings and burning of houses, the separatist fighters buried the dead. The more the truth is hidden, the more the wound widens, the more tension increases, the more trust is destroyed and the more the war will prolong and which may probably end up widening the divide between the two peoples. Martial solutions only help to radicalize the population and encourage them to defy state institutions.

Their comments were a call for rebellion because the state considered everyone of them as Amba so they had to carry gun and fight. They wondered how the government could refuse to acknowledge such genocidal acts and they were determined to pick up arms against the government and to force the Francophone out of their land. They question the trust of the government and the government thought it could only regain it through intimidation. They felt helpless in front of international organization.

“Today I’ll be picking up my own arm against this government, it’s too much”, “Sometimes shame di hold me for this pipo their chance.4 How can this he-goat deny this. So it’s no more petrol accident”, “Is high time we all pick up guns, since we are all ambas in the eyes of military, anyhow any one left behind will tell me if those children were ambas”, “Operation Frogs to leave Ambaland has been activated and shall soon enter full gear. All frogs should leave Ambaland5 for their own safety. A word to a wise na sophi ei sense.6 “The earlier you kill all of us, the better. We shall not sit and watch our country eaten up by vampires. Enough of these jokes. Kill us all if you care…You cannot silence this generation. We’ve seen more than what any other generation had ever seen. Non…”, “Professional Army huh…I reserve my comment”, “This photo was automatically covered so you can.”, “Does it mean no one in the world has power in this world to stop this barbarism in Cameroon. Even UN, AU, EU US?”, “How can people be lying like this and are asked to do investigations? What will be the outcome?”, “Even in the North the Force of law and order did not kill women and children.7

In reactions to the post on Facebook, the Ambazonian people poured frightful curses on them and wish them dead mysteriously. They labeled the minister a wizard and wished him mad and they thought they are demon possessed. They mocked them by saying it happened in Mali.8 They think that they will be consumed by their own evils.

“Thunder will strike all of you someday idiet. It happens in Mali”, “I’ve never cursed but this time around I release dementia to that Rene of a human.”, “Either this man’s brain is short or he is just possessed. We all saw the Cameroonian military people killing…executing…some women carrying their kids on their backs”, “You will excrete clotted blood after a prolonged painful incurable ailment for saying this! People have lost everything. ..I mean everything they have reason to be alive for, in the most dreadful manner, and you say this???”, “Thanks very much in the days of appointment we celebrate we never knew you were the witchcraft behind our back,” “The demons that lives in you will surely one day consume you all,” “This country will never change if people like you remain in power. Please change from your wicked ways for judgement awaits us all”, “It shall never be well with you Mr man for the blood of those children is on your head”, “May thunder strike him where ever he is right now and may the spirits of everyone killed haunt every soul involved in this massacre”, All the ministers and service heads in Cameroon need to be given mass burial for a new country to emerge. Chaiwhat has come over them or its really that the devil is at work? The bloody money u eat and talk nonsense shall one day prevail on your life and the life of your family members. You shall not see route”.

The comments also exposed the wickedness and inhumanity of the government and the Francophone community, labelling them as devils and terrorists, and vampires as people suffering from mental problem: “These Devils still lie even when captured on camera. Our people in that community were living in peace, they didn’t ask Cameroon military to come and protect them. Boko haram is slaughtering their citizens in the North, they wouldn’t go for their protection,”, “Terrorists like him ..They want to suck more blood”, “The paradox of doing the will of it’s master contradicts the ethics of good soldierhood. Your advocacy would have been harnessing if you had an iota of feelings towards the victims, their families, friends and relations, but is rather unfortunate that …”, “I used to think Devils have some funny looks but its like they’re some of these human faces we see everyday”, “This man i curse you and your entire generation to come. You have drunk just too much blood that even if you are found carrying a big mess on you, you will claim to be clean you vampire and your entire clan will all pay for just wait and see”.

Another aspect of the comments dwelled on divine reliance or intervention, truth and divine justice. They thought the government supported the military and promoted them to fight against them. That is why they relied on divine intervention They reminded them that God exists and He is awake and protects those who fights for the truth and He will punish those who murder the innocent people at Ngarbuh. They were certain that God will exhaust their prayer and a time will arrive when those killing them would be unable to continue doing so. Not only did they wish them deadly diseases but also that God would punish them from one generation to another. They ask on God to protect them.

Chai!!!!Chai!!!!!There’s God oooo, chai chai chai,there’s God ooooooooo” “They should keep on with their lies only only the truth will save us, Happy are the people who are fighting for the truth, Lord protect us from Every danger and restore peace in our hearts”, “René or whatever you are called, God will take away your children same way you took ours. He is awake. Our cries won’t go unheard. We trust in him. It’s just a matter of time,” “May God expose all these lies you keep telling everyday and. may your generation never find happiness. May God punish your family and generation with deadly diseases forever in the name of Jesus!As the spirits of those dead watch u in tear tell lies f…”, “A season is coming their way, when they wouldn’t be able to go further. Jesus is the beginning & the end.”

They were optimistic considering the present as temporal which means that they were going to be triumphant because according to them God is on the throne and He is a God of justice and would disgrace the wicked they believed. They invited their brothers in Ngarbuh to wait on the Lord because evil has never prevailed and God is for the helpless. Therefore their messages gave solace to those who were affected.

“The mid-way race doesn’t matter. It’s the end that matters…All fingers crossed. God is seated on His Throne…”, “The one that the military did in Bamenda….that’s in the city, they still deny it …. God of Justice visit our enemies they are too strong for us…my people keeps living in pain everyday. “Praise God for them. God is on His throne laughing at them. For He will make them a public disgrace in the days ahead. (Ps. 2:1-8). Dear Ngarbuh brothers wait on the Lord, His is coming and He is here. He is the Lord for the helpless. Evil has never prevailed”, “One day you will cry and shed tears only for the words you used over innocent souls. May God give you another Chance to Change else, you will be consumed by the wrath of the angry Almighty.”

They even offer a prayer and waited on the time of God: “Lord Jesus, help us to have a heavenly view and a heavenly perspective. Help us to understand that we all have an eternity which will supersede our temporal existence here on earth. Help us to shape our acts and our words to fit our eternal reality. We…”,

They said if death were not weak, the militarymen would have all been dead and reminded them that they would equally be killed, the same way they were murdering them because he who kills using the sword die by the sword. They said the acts of the military would bring them nightmares, sleepless night and curses on them and their families:

“Just that the death is as weak as the word weak if not you guys won’t see no peace”, “He who fights with a sword will virtually die by the sword.as you jubilate and feast over the blood of the innocent, be rest assured, all you perpetrators of this evil, your day of reckoning is just by the corner”, “We are waiting now for Mr “buried the bereaved9” to come and say his own nonsense”, “A fallen hero once said that how long shall they kill our prophets while we stands aside and look. We need to be emancipated. Set the captive free”, They have created their own hell, nightmares, sleeplessnights, curses upon their families from generation to generation, God is alive”, Jesus is lord, only with this—I do not want to say that God is sleeping but rather the right time is coming”, “God is slow to anger and has given ample warnings that he will destroy those who oppose him and threaten his people (ex 34:6-7) don’t continue to provoke God for you will not be able to contain his wrath.”

They also showed that the state had failed in its duty to protect the population. It was quite perplexing for them to understand why an army should kill instead of protecting the population, why those who criticized the army are tracked and punished. They concluded that the army was there to satisfy the government and their creator10 and not the population and God.

“I don’t know whether this article is a joke or something serious. To whoever is talking, it is truly unbelievable that our protectors have turned against their duty. Whether the mind believes it or not, it is just the ideal. The reality lies in evidence!”, “How can one believe for a moment that an army as disciplined and civic-minded as ours can loot civilian properties and kill the people whose protection and security is their mission?” But they are doing it so maybe they want to set the government hope…”, “How can one believe for a moment that a corrupt government like that of Cameroon can attest for something they’ve done that could lead to more investigations?”, “We understand. If you dare criticize the army, they can decide to bring you down. Every life is important in Cameroon and deserves protection”, “That’s why the military keeps causing their havoc because they would be protected by their boss….”, “Rene Sadi I pity you. You are a diplomat by profession. You want to please your master and creator Biya. My advice to you is to fear GOD ALMIGHTY.”

One also clearly sees the feeling of impartiality in their write-ups: A situation where conclusions are drawn without full knowledge of the situation, a situation in which a third party is lacking: “I only laugh at those asking people like him to investigate the massacre, this already tells us the outcome of the investigation. God have mercy on us all”, “Has this man, in his capacity as minister of communications, ever gone down to the field to examine the situation first-hand before making any declarations? Please, somebody should help me understand. Maybe I’m not current,”, “In the face of it all, adversity, pressure, oppression is the only breeding ground for critical thinking, inventions and innovations! Keep pushing us. Maybe this is why we needed to think outside the box.”

They made a mockery of the system and the use of military force for survival and said it was a system without trust and were kept in power by the military: “I understand Issa Tchiroma11 better now. What a professional army indeed! This professionalism must be in hell where rape, looting and killing is the norm. Ahhh, go and sit down”, “The regime has lost the confidence of the population. It is not a surprise. Sample the opinion of 90% of francophone, they will say the same thing”, There’s only one thing keeping the regime in power: the military”, The only people standing on the way for Cameroon potentials is the military. When military becomes electorate, judiciary and administration… the old and incompetent can stay in power…”, “It was crossfire between the military and infrastructures12…to be continued”, “A General admitted on record that the military deliberately burn houses! Can you comment on that Mr Minister?”

“How can we imagine that ministers can embezzle state funds and they are allowed to live like kings”, “The devil has no shame”, “Where on earth can a notorious thief caught red handed quickly and simply confess and admits his criminal acts just like that, he prefers to be hang”, “Short sightedness is really killing this octogenarian regime”, “What I see here is idolization of some incarnates in the name of humans”, “Preparing to take over your land if the last person falls. The Ngarbuh inccidence has really motivated you and now you are thinking of other ways to completely eliminate every body in Ambazonia, that why you are thanking the head of state, Paul Biya.…

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9. The government of Cameroon’s reaction

9.1 The senior divisional officer

On the 19th February, 2020, [23] sent out the post below: “SDO for Nkambe, if separatist did the massacre in Ngarbuh why you people reduced the number of deaths to only 5”.

This means that all the government officers were liars and were not working for the interest of the population but for the government. They did everything to maintain the regime in power against the people’s will: The people had this to say: “What a simple nice question? SDO,oya. Answer the question”, “He is still working on the report”, “God has a way of exposing these barbarians by simply making them confess their crimes directly or indirectly”, “A very good question”, “Shame to Cameroon government, a country where all authorities are liars”, “Admission of guilt, they killed 32-5=27 people, acquiescence is not acceptable, it simply means, they know they did commit the genocide but want to share little of it with the Separatists. They failed to see that they started the war which is still ongoing and they cannot fault the defenders in anyway, whatsoever.”, “God has a way of exposing these barbarians by simply making them confess their crimes directly or indirectly”, “Tens of people have been killed. We all see them excluding those who have died in the bushes after sustaining gun shots. If LRC gov’t were honest about their claim, the exact figures would have been published but by the simple act of downplaying the numbers is telling enough of their guilt. They are trying to conceal their crimes, and in so doing they naively exposed themselves”, “God will see us through. It’s ordained”,

9.2 Government criticism of human rights’ report

Human Right condemned the massacre and called for an independent investigation: “The murders of civilians, including children, committed under horrific conditions, are heinous crimes that should be effectively and independently investigated and those responsible brought to justice,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, senior researcher on Africa at Human Rights Watch. “To deny that these crimes were committed adds further trauma to survivors and will only encourage government troops to commit further atrocities.”

According to [18], the minister of Communication hit back at a recent report published by Human Rights Watch over the Camerron’s military involvement in the Ngarbuh massacre and burning of houses. Reacting to the report during a press briefing on Thursday in Yaounde, Communication Minister Rene Emmanuel Sadi described the report as overtly biased and rejectted all accusations. He stressed that the Head of State has ordered for a commission of inquiry which will publish its findings soon and there was no need for organizations to go ahead and publish what he described as false information on the incident without having gone to the scene to carry out investigations. He said Human Rights Watch has no material evidence to support their assertion and denounced their approach which to him is an attempt to undermine the image of Cameroon and the stability of the institution.

Ambazonians expressed optimism stating that La Republique needed not to deceive themselves because they did not cover the truth of what happened at Ngarbuh on 14th February forever. They also added La Republique’s thugs were panicking already because no amount of distraction and obfuscation could save them. They equally expressed the hope that they would be dragged to the International Court of Justice for their crimes against Ambazonians. They equally wished there had been satellite images to uncover the truth of Ngarbuh. However, they depended on God because they believe He is awake. They said no matter what they would get freed one day and reiterated that they were their own enemies because of their their “divide and rule fallacy”.

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10. Resistance and internalization of the massacre

10.1 United Kingdom and the commonwealth

Facebook reports had it that two angry Cameroonians attempted burning themselves up with fuel in front of the Cameroonian Embassy in London, in protest against the Ngarbuh massacre. The two victims were rescued by the British police and administered medical care. The writer commented that the Ngarbuh massacre was yet to be over in the minds of many people world-wide and the worst case scenario in retaliation to that incident was expected in the coming days as southern Cameroonians looked forward to having black Friday that week. This post by Aeron Kaah was widely shared and commented [24].

The martyr was considered as a BAS UK member. They asked for Divine intervention and complained that they have cried a lot until their tears could no longer flow because they were living in a painful moment and environment: “God of mercy protect us,”, “God have mercy on us. Oh look at your beautiful children”, “God Almighty is watching”, “Ohhh God, please help us for the pain is tooo much” “Everyday ooh na so so cry ooh,13 water don finish for my eyes. God have u become an IDP14 too?? Come to our rescue”, “My fellow Ambazonian please hold yourselves together, don’t add more pains on us please we know that it hates my brothers take heart LRC government and its allies shall never go unpunished”, “That’s a good move hope I could be found where I could as well burn myself rather than shamelessly being alive while innocent children are roasted without any sympathy”, “The ngarbuh messacre is so painful it calls us all whether you belong to which political party,” “This shall continue until the international community does something. Even if they don’t want to listen to Ambazonia, let there be Justice for ngarbuh”.

According to [25] in a post entitled: We must not sleep, emphasized that, they too shall not sleep as our children and our unborn Ambazonians are being burnt alive by a beast. He said President Rawlings called Biya a “beast” after the Ngarbuh massacre. He called on his fellow Ambazonians in the UK to follow up the African Bar letter they had sent to their MPs15 in the United Kingdom. He called on them to contact commonwealth countries via their respective embassies in London, to shame them and question their loyalty to Africans since they were mute following the Ngarbuh massacre, and to remind Namibia that she was a South African colony that was rescued from the hands of apartheid colonial master (South Africa). They were offered their independence because Ethiopia and Liberia had taken their case to the International Court of Justice. Despite this, Namibians had ignored their quest for independence.

Kenya which was the Chair of the commonwealth and ought to have called for action against Cameroon had remained indifferent. Ghana’s President who gave the impression that he was a moderate and could not be influenced by the west had said nothing about the genocide in Southern Cameroons despite the calls for actions to be taken against Biya from his fellow statesman: Rawlings. He concluded that those African leaders were still puppets to Britain but they had to give them tough time and tell them what they thought about them. They had to hold them responsible for the genocide in the Southern Cameroons. Ambazonians had to ask them to DISMISS Cameroon from the Commonwealth for failing to respect the values and principles of the organization or those countries themselves should leave the Commonwealth. He gave them the numbers of the various embassies for them to talk with their ambassadors to let them know that they had failed African children in order to please colonial powers.

This post was widely shared and it received some of the comments below: “We have to be very serious here because UK is the heartbeat and focal point in this our case of Southern Cameroons due to their colonial role. More pressure should be mounted on them to stand up at once”, “Oh my God! Can u imagine Namibia ignoring us when I can remember way back in the primary school, our class six madame never allowed us rest with one song with opening lines..

“Namibia….. Oh oh Namibia…

Namibia… Your woe is our woe…”.

“If we make like this it will be as if we are begging them let us arm our RFS and see how the professional military will beg us”, “Great job bro and thanks for the sharing”, “Only God will do what no man can do. Ambazonian be strong for the almighty is with you”, “Good one comrade”, “Good strategy”.

10.2 Commonwealth secretary-general’s reaction

Gina Informs shared the Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland’s reaction after the Ngarbuh Maasacre [26]: “I strongly condemn the recent killings of civilians, including women and children in the North-West of Cameroon on 14 February 2020. We noted the Government announcement that there would be a full investigation into the incident. We encourage the Government to conduct an impartial investigation, for perpetrators to be held accountable and for results to be made public. The Commonwealth strongly condemns all forms of violence, and in particular, the loss of lives of innocent civilians including women and children.

Cameroon is a noted member of the Human Rights Council and as such we are minded of General Comment 13 to the Convention on the Rights of the Child to freedom from all forms of violence which is underscored by the understanding that no violence against children is justifiable, all violence against children is preventable.”

Southern Cameroonians blamed her for not helping them enough and that she had collected a gift from the Government in order to be quiet and labeled her as a noise-maker and a pretender: “When this Scotland or Poland Woman came to Cameroon, what did she say and collect? After corruption sealed your lips, you can now blow grammar from that end. God is watching”, “After receiving a Golden statue she is acting up. Corruption knows no shame. She should be ashamed”, “All this useless noise makers. Are they not fueling people with hate instead?”, “If she was serious she would have suspended Cameroon from the CW16 long ago but she enjoys the statues she gets from yde,17” “man tell that lady to shut up. She should stop playing holy.”

10.3 The United Nations

On the 16th February, Aaron Yancho Kaah sent a post entitled: Ngarbuh massacre. ‘The UN visit to this village is a Non-event’ cries an insider. [27] The post stated that, more than a dozen UN field staff had arrived to Ngarbuh: a farming community, to investigate the massacre of the more than 35 peasant farmers who were mostly children by trained Cameroun soldiers on Valentine’s day and that there was an infiltration of LRC’s agents in that mission and that some people loyal to the Biya’s regime in those communities had been brainwashed and paid to testify that they saw Amba fighters committing those acts. The post noted that those communities were gripped by fear and would say anything henceforth to secure their lives and freedoms. The post concluded that, it was inconsequential and a non-event that nothing should be expected out of it and that the Southern Cameroons civil society consortium had called for an independent thorough investigation into these killings that had left Southern Cameroonians in tears world-wide.

The following were the reactions: “What are we doing with an investigation? Total Retaliatory plan is what we needs….. take out the traitors. Simple”, “UN has first hand information my bro. They don’t work on propaganda, so there are under agents”, “If you were tagging the UN and US congress members that would have reached power eyes and ears”, “My brother was shot at Ichim on the 14th Feburary by amba and he died in hospital with reason that he voted, meanwhile he did not vote. What have you got to say about this?”, “wickedness in the both camp’s.”

On the 25th February Aaron Yancho Kaah sent another post which went viral with about 176 shares on the entitled “Look Here please..” [24]. He wrote.

Information reaching us this morning confirms that Danjuma popularly known as DJ the good Samaritan who helped the UN and Human Right Watch to access vital pieces of information about the Ngarbuh Massacre is under going severe torture and assault after been kidnapped by cameroun soldiers at gun point yesterday. There concerns he may have been killed today as the Biya regime struggles to conceal the story behind the Ngarbuh attacks. There is a commanding demand for the UN to give it’s witnesses protection unless they want to discourage everyone from telling the truth. “The intimidation of villagers and eyes witnesses of the Ngarbuh massacre is scary and many of the victims are on the run to Nigeria with their families” reported an insider on thr line to Donga today.

10.4 United Nations secretary general’s reaction

According to [28] UN SG Antonio Gutteres through spokesman reacts to the Ngarbuh Massacre. The Secretary-General is deeply concerned over reports about the killing of civilians, including children, in an attack on the village of Ngarbuh in the North-West Region of Cameroon on 14 February. He extends his deepest condolences to the families and calls on the Government of Cameroon to conduct an investigation and to ensure that those responsible are held accountable. The Secretary-General calls on armed actors to refrain from attacks against civilians and to respect international humanitarian and international human rights law. He reiterates the readiness of the United Nations to work with stakeholders towards a political solution to the crisis in the North-West and South-West Regions of Cameroon through meaningful dialog.

11. Ambazonians’ reactions against the United Nations

The people responses to the killing of Danjuma and the United Nations’ Secretary General reaction indicate they did not have to rely on an international community but themselves and it instigated them to take arms and fight the more. They considered Cameroon an unsaved zone.

“Terrible”, “This is sad. More reason why UN must take serious measures.”, “Why did the UN allow him unsaved???????”, “God safe him from these wicked people”, “Hi Camemeroon Na Danger Zone”, “Wondering where this world is heading to”, “Oh JESUS”, “Truth always surface (LRC will never succeed in Jesus name Amen)”, “They should share this and even to that UN office to let them know what’s happening after they left”, “Where is the UN. Why is the UN afraid of Biya?”

They considered the UN SG as being evil, a nincompoop, and being unfair in their decision because according to the commentators, a person who has committed a crime cannot investigate himself. They called on him to leave a legacy by thinking of his being a father too to children like those massacred at Ngarbuh. His non-action was considered as a disgrace.

“Look at his face! Traces of evil all around it”, “You ask the person who burnt houses for bi firefighter and again at the same time arson investigator. Wandas”, “Tell him I said that he is a nincompoop ”, “Mr S/G what legacy will you keep behind after your turn of office is over? Sir you are a disgrace to mankind and to father-hood”, “I wonder who he is sending condolences to….; Is he speaking with dead people?” “If I understand well, the UN is insinuating that arm groups are attacking civilians and may have committed the crime. All anglophones have been sold into slavery by the UN”, “I see to refrain attacks against civilians and do what? Continue killing themselves? Why are these people this wicked?”, “I wander who brought this man as secretary general at the UNITED Nations. I know America regret this very man”,

They considered the United Nation as being powerless comparing it to a toothless bull dog and that actions were better than comments. Since he could not use his office to right the wrongs committed during independence, they then consider him as a noise-maker. They considered him as someone prone to corruption than justice and also as the worst UN SG ever. Guterres was considered as a criminal, an accomplice and a collaborator to dictators and repressive governments. They are labeled as blood-suckers who were happy when people are killed. They show their hatred to the UN because according to them, it is a useless organization.

“Toothless bull dog” you are the father of all nations, when your children are bloodily fighting, you look for means to forcefully call them to order and for negotiation, you do not sit in your comfortable chair and said u’re ready to welcome the protagonists”, “Mr.S/G! You need to act. The time has come for ur organisation to act.no more time for comments and condemnations. Or are waiting to see all of Southern Cameroonians in graves before u wld know things are not getting better over here.”, “Two sides Cutlass condolences, and to think that this folk can use the office given him to solve the errors of the UN, in the 60s make me sick”, “Nonsense noise-maker. We need actions and not your usual noise Mr. SG”, “It is now very clear to us that ever the UN have been both over with money what shame. But we will never so render because you will killed time to last man standing”, “Antonio Guteres the worst UN Secretary General ever. You are waiting for a full blown war before you act? Shameless!”,

“Forget about them, all of them are blood suckers AU, UN and what so ever, these are occultic groups, when innocent babes are killed, they are happy, how can you be asking the perpetrators to investigate, what is he investigating, the government profession…”, “Time to dissolve this Divided Nations bullshit. It’s sickening, how eat and fart doing nothing. Is LRC and Southern Cameroon such a complicated equation to solve? Put this case in court for God’s sake!”, “Empty man who only have increased on his own organization while many are dying, is it today that they see our people dying in their numbers”, “What in any of those lines is new?”, “Is it calling on the government to investigate or respect human rights?, “Useless organization. Let them keep asking Cameroon Government to investigate untill every one is killed. Toothless bull. I hate UN. Useless organization”,

They considered the UN SG evil because he was trying to cover up the situation in the Southern Cameroons because according to them, President Paul Biya was not going to investigate the massacre.

“The UN is a useless organization. A toothless bulldog. It should be dissolved. Its serves no purposes”, “Same useless song”, “Pls ask dem to stay quite, we dis generation demands action or dere should stay quite forever.!!!”, “The same language every day, “Which Dialogue again?, How many times will the UN claim innocence that they never know Biya can never be sincere about q meaningful political settlement or are they buying time enough to enable the entire anglophones be destroyed?, “He and his UN are always and ever concern about worsening situations around the world. Rubbish”, “Cameroon is one and indivisible no one have a right on this fighting”, “Clowns!”, “Anthem”, “Bullshit”, “Nonsense,” “Shame”, “Talk is cheap!”, “Papa get out”, “Politics dirtiest Game ever”, “Fuck them all. They keep on talking but can’t do anything. Demonic organization, “See face,”, “Cowards UN they are not even brave enough to come to southern Cameroon”, “Toothless bulldogs, fuck”, “Hypocrites”,

12. The United Nations call for investigation

Nelborg Steve on a post entitle:, DEVELOPING NEWS initiatially posted by Jenifer DK, indicated that the UN had called for an independent international investigation into the Ngarbuh massacre including: Ofen-Tiben massacre., Menka-Pinyin massacre, Bakweri town massacre., Buea Town massacre, Muyuka massacre., Ekona massacre., Munyenge massacre, Kwa-Kwa massacre, Wum massacre, Weh massacre, Esu massacre, The killing of baby Martha, The beheading of Sam Soya, the burning of mami Appih.

Southern Cameroonians appreciated the move by saying: it was “Spirit-lifting”, “The sleeping UN is gradually getting up from sleep”, ‘And Florence Ayafor’s case, I was shocked to see that Video from a Catalonian activist page”, “Let the investigation only be done thoroughly. Other killings be done for it’s a genocidal act”, “Good news”, “Why have they not included this imam that they used and failed to protect”, “Excellent! But what about the Guzang Massacre, the beheading of Ayafor Florence, the Krugwe Massacre? Ok ooh”, “Better late than never”, “GOOD NEWS”, “just the beginning”, “Matters arising from the minutes. Slowly but surely the world is awakening from the stupor.”

13. Theoretical implication

When the military burnt houses, rape women, massacre people as they did in Ngarbuh, the government labeled them as professional and disciplined soldiers while the separatists who defended themselves against the outslaught of the soldiers are considered terrorists. On the other hand, the separatist also labeled the military as terrorists. Who then is a terrorist? In the perspective of the government which is struggling to maintain the territorial integrity of the country, it is the separatists who are trying to cut off themselves from La Republique Cameroon.

Therefore, the labelling theory is very applicable in this work. It is an attempt to explain deviance as a social process by which some people who commit deviant acts come to be known as deviants and the others do not. Deviance is seen as a consequence of society’s decision to apply that term to a person. Therefore, deviant behavior is what a decision labels as deviant. The critical point here is not the behavior itself but why the behavior was labeled as deviant. Not all who engage in deviant activities are labeled deviant but some are [29].

Patrick Ekema who fought against the separatist movement was given a medal for patriotism wheras the separatists considered him as him as their worst enemy. He did the worst of thing sealing business people’s shop and was even accused of murder. All senior government workers are labeled by Southern Cameroon separatists as enablers because they did all they could to disrupt the revolution by cooperating with the government. They are labeled as good people by the government not because what they do is good but that their actions help the government to maintain territorial intergrity. They are very insensitive to the cries of their people, they do not denounce the military atrocities but instead help the military to fight against their people. Therefore, the people labeled them as devils, terrorists, vampires, as people suffering from mental problem etc.

They labeled the United Nation as powerless comparing it to a toothless bull dog, a noise-maker, criminal, an accomplice and a collaborator to dictators and repressive governments, blood-suckers who were happy when people are killed, a useless organization because of its inability to take action and to listen to them.

14. Conclusions

The rise and spread of new ICTs has transformed the way that society is organized, which of course include social movements. As a result, satirical material, fake news which are Internet-based publications purporting to be genuine news sources which propagate inaccurate stories based on rumor or blatant untruths have come to stay. This is enshrined in the post-truth politics which refers to a political culture wherein debate is more emotional and contrary ideas are hardly welcomed. The most popular fake news stories during the Ambazonian crisis have been shared more widely than the most popular mainstream media reports and it provoked a lot of reactions.

No Facebook posts received as many comments as the one which carried the reaction of the minister of communication in which he styled the military as professionals and the separatist fighters as terrorists. Ambazonians knew the truth which other Cameroonians did not know. After the killings and burning of houses, the separatist fighters buried the dead. The more the truth is hidden, the more the wound widen, the more tension increases, the more trust is destroyed and the more the war will prolong and which may probably end up widening the divide between the two peoples. Martial solutions only help to radicalize the population and encourage them to defy state institutions.

Their comments were a call for rebellion because the state considered everyone of them as Amba so they had to carry gun and fight. They wondered how the government could refuse to acknowledge such genocidal acts and were determined to pick up arms against the government and to force the Francophone out of their land. The people question the trust of the government and the government thinks it can only regain it through intimidation. They felt helpless in front of international organization.

In reactions to the post on Facebook, the Ambazonian people poured frightful curses on government officials and wish they mysteriously died. They labeled them as wizards and wished them mad and they thought they were demon possessed. They mocked them by saying it happened in Mali. They think that they will be consumed by their own evils. The comments also exposed the wickedness and inhumanity of the government and the Francophone community, labelling them as devils and terrorists, and vampires as people suffering from mental problem.

Another aspect of the comments dwelled on divine reliance or intervention, truth and divine justice. They thought the government supported the military and promoted them to fight against them. That is why they relied on divine intervention They reminded them that God exists and He is awake and protects those who fights for the truth and He will punish those who murder the innocent people. They were certain that God will exhaust their prayer and a time would arrive when those killing them will be unable to continue doing so. Not only did they wish them deadly diseases but that God would punish them from one generation to another. They ask on God to protect them.

They were optimistic considering the present as temporal which means that they were going to be triumphant because according to them God is on the throne and He is a God of justice and would disgrace the wicked they believed. They invited their brothers in Ngarbuh to wait on the Lord because evil has never prevailed and God is for the helpless. Therefore their messages gave solace to those who were affected. They also showed that the state had failed in its duty to protect the population. It was quite perplexing for them to understand why an army should kill instead of protecting the population, why those who criticized the army are tracked and punished. They concluded that the army was there to satisfy the government and their creator and not the population and God. One also clearly sees the feeling of impartiality in their write-ups: A situation where conclusions are drawn without full knowledge of the situation, a situation in which a third party is lacking: They made a mockery of the system and the use of military force for survival and said it was a system without trust and were kept in power by the military.

They considered the UN SG as being evil, a nincompoop, and being unfair in their decision because according to the commentators, a person who has committed a crime cannot investigate himself. They called on him to leave a legacy by thinking of his being a father too to children like those massacred at Ngarbuh. His non-action was considered as a disgrace.

They considered the United Nation as being powerless comparing it to a toothless bull dog and that actions were better than comments. Since he could not use his office to right the wrongs committed during independence, they then consider him as a noise-maker. They considered him as someone prone to corruption than justice and also as the worst UN SG ever. According to them, he was a criminal, an accomplice and a collaborator to dictators and repressive governments. They are labeled as blood-suckers who were happy when people are killed. They show their hatred to the UN because according to them, it is a useless organization.

Therefore Internet-based news is people-friendly because it helps them to express their feeling which is in cossonance with the post-truth politics.

Notes

  • Meaning President Paul Biya: the President of the Republic of Cameroon.
  • The soldiers who killed them.
  • Apigin phrase which mea nit is the end that matters.
  • I am ashame of this people.
  • Operation Francophone to leave Ambaland.
  • Sufficient.
  • It is a mockery because the military killed a woman and her child.
  • When the military was accused in a video that went viral, the government said it took place in Mali before later on accepting that actually it was in Cameroon.
  • Mocking the Minister of territorial Administration who once erroneously made this statement. Instead of saying bury the dead, he said buried the bereaved.
  • The president of the Republic who had appointed them.
  • The former minister of communication who used to consider the military as being professional.
  • Meaning the military burnt houses.
  • We only cry everyday until our tears have dried off.
  • Internally Deplaced Persons.
  • Members of Parliament.
  • Commonwealth.
  • Yaounde.

© 2020 The Author(s). Licensee IntechOpen. This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Nanche Billa Robert (October 29th 2020). The Scramble for Cyberspace: Internet-Based Reporting of Genocide in the Southern Cameroon-Ambazonia Crisis, Fake News Is Bad News - Hoaxes, Half-truths and the Nature of Today's Journalism, Ján Višňovský and Jana Radošinská, IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.94458. Available from:

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Introductory Chapter: Some Notes on Journalism in the Age of Social Media

By Ján Višňovský and Jana Radošinská

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