Youth shot dead in Cameroon’s troubled anglophone region

A pedestrian walks in a street of Buea some 60 kms west of Douala, on Sunday. (AFP)
Updated 01 October 2017
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Youth shot dead in Cameroon’s troubled anglophone region

BUEA, Cameroon: A young man from Cameroon’s English-speaking region was shot dead by security forces on the eve of an expected symbolic declaration of independence by anglophone separatists, medical and security forces told AFP Sunday.
“They fired at him during a security operation” in the city of Kumba, a nurse who requested anonymity told AFP. The incident was confirmed by a security source and several local residents contacted by phone.
Kumba is known as a rebellious city since the start of protests by the anglophone minority last November, with clashes erupting between security forces and the local population.
The majority of Cameroon’s 22 million people are French-speaking, while about a fifth is English-speaking.
The legacy dates back to 1961, when a formerly British entity, Southern Cameroons, united with Cameroon after its independence from France in 1960.
The anglophone minority has long complained about disparities in sharing out Cameroon’s oil wealth.
On Sunday, the date of the official reunification of the anglophone and francophone parts of Cameroon, the anglophone separatists are expected to make a symbolic proclamation of independence for Ambazonia, the name of the state they want to create.
On Thursday, the Cameroonian authorities announced a temporary curb on travel and public meetings across the Southwest Region, adding to a curfew in the neighboring Northwest Region, also English-speaking.
In Buea, the southwest’s main city, the streets were mostly deserted early Sunday as security forces patrolled the area including where the separatists are expected to gather, an AFP correspondent reported.
“I can’t go out, they asked us to stay home,” said one city resident who identified herself just as Nancy.
“Everyone is afraid... it’s not good,” added another resident Thom.
Since November 2016, the anglophone minority has been protesting against perceived discrimination, especially in education and the judicial system, where they say the French language and traditions are being imposed on them, even though English is one of the country’s two official languages.
Most anglophone campaigners want the country to resume a federalist system — an approach that followed the 1961 unification but was later scrapped in favor of a centralized government run from the capital Yaounde. A hard-line minority is calling for secession.
Both measures are opposed by the country’s long-ruling president, 84-year-old Paul Biya.


Father of boy saved by Paris ‘Spiderman’ convicted for negligence

Updated 1 min 53 sec ago
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Father of boy saved by Paris ‘Spiderman’ convicted for negligence

  • Mamoudou Gassama was propelled to global stardom in May after footage of him scaling the facade of the apartment building with his bare hands to save the child went viral
  • The 37-year-old father found himself in hot water for leaving the child unattended in their sixth-floor apartment while he went shopping

PARIS: The father of the little boy who was rescued dangling from a fourth-story Paris balcony by a Malian migrant dubbed Spiderman received a three-month suspended jail sentence Tuesday for leaving the child home alone.
Mamoudou Gassama was propelled to global stardom in May after footage of him scaling the facade of the apartment building with his bare hands to save the child went viral.
Gassama, who was living illegally in France at the time, was rewarded with French citizenship and a job in the fire service.
But the 37-year-old father found himself in hot water for leaving the child unattended in their sixth-floor apartment while he went shopping — the boy was just four at the time.
Apart from the suspended sentence he was also ordered to take a parenting course.
The public prosecutor had asked for the father to be given a six-month suspended sentence, noting that had Gassama not sprung into action the child “might now be dead.”
The father told the court that after spending the day at the Disneyland theme park near Paris with his son on May 26, he decided to pop out for some provisions, leaving his son in front of the TV at his insistence.
Expressing remorse he said he had not realized that by leaving the sliding door to the balcony open the child was in grave danger.
He also admitted to being gone longer than he thought — around an hour — because he was playing the popular Pokemon Go game on his phone.
The child told the police he thought his father had gone back to Disneyland without him and decided to follow him.
Finding the apartment door locked he climbed over the balcony and then appears to have fallen, before miraculously managing to grab the rail of a balcony on the fourth floor.
Footage of the incident, filmed by a bystander, shows him dangling in mid-air with a neighbor on the adjoining balcony desperately trying to hold onto him.
Gassama, 22, then scales the building Spiderman-style and pulls him to safety.
Under France’s penal code parental negligence carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a fine of up to 30,000 euros ($35,300).
The boy’s mother was on a visit to her native Reunion island, a French territory in the Indian Ocean, at the time.
Both parents were said at the time to be extremely shaken by the incident but hugely grateful to Gassama.