Cameroonian Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute said Thursday that his government was willing to dialogue with armed separatists on all demands, excluding separation.
“Apart from the indivisibility of Cameroon, the president of the republic is ready to organize a formal dialogue to resolve the socio-political crisis in Northwest and Southwest. The president is ready to dialogue with the separatists,” Ngute told a press conference in Bamenda, the largest city in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions.
Government forces will be withdrawn from the two English-speaking regions of the country and dialogue will commence as soon as separatist fighters drop their weapons and get reintegrated into society, he said.
“I have come here to listen to you and ask you to intervene and get our children (armed separatists) out of the bushes so that we can return to normal life. Children have suffered enough,” Ngute said during his maiden peace mission to the troubled Northwest region.
On Tuesday, Cameroon’s National Committee on Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration said that in five months, 56 separatist fighters had ‘voluntarily’ laid down their arms to ‘embrace normal life’.
Cameroon is facing serious security challenges in the two Anglophone regions of Northwest and Southwest where separatists want to create an independent nation they called ‘Ambazonia’.
According to the United Nations, more than 430,000 Cameroonians have been displaced internally and at least 30,000 others have fled to neighboring Nigeria since the conflict started in 2017.