United States- and Europe-based Cameroon separatist leaders invited by the government to a national dialogue on the crisis in its Northwest and Southwest regions said they will not take part in any dialogue unless it is held outside the country with non-Cameroonians as mediators. The government has stated it will not accept a foreign mediator.
The week-long dialogue on the separatist crisis is due to begin Monday in the capital city, Yaounde. The government said it has invited more than 1,000 people, including lawmakers, clergy, teachers, and civil society activists.
George Ewane, spokesperson of the national dialogue, said Cameroon’s President Paul Biya has ruled out the possibility of inviting a foreign mediator. Some nations that have offered to mediate, he said, have not stopped Cameroonians in the diaspora from financially sponsoring violence back home.
None of the U.S.- and Europe-based separatist leaders contacted by Voice Of America said they will attend the talks. Among those turning down the invitation is Eric Tataw, who lives in the United States.
He said he will not attend because he and fellow separatists based in the diaspora are wanted in Cameroon on charges of secession and terrorism.
Those are the same charges for which separatist leaders Ayuk Tabe Julius and 10 collaborators were arrested and sentenced to life in prison by a Yaounde military tribunal.