On October 1, 2017, the Republic of Ambazonia declared independence from Cameroon. After nearly a year of bloodshed and displacement, Amba Land — as it's also called — is seeking recognition by the international community, explains its interim President Samuel Sako Ikome in an exclusive interview in Washington, D.C.
Ikome clarified that last year his people declared the 'restoration' of our independence because we were independent, noting UN General Assembly Resolution 1608 that granted the Sub-Saharan, anglophone nation independence in 1961. The area was formerly the Trust Territory of Southern Cameroons under UK administration following the League of Nations mandate in 1919.
He argues that in the nearly six decades Ambazonians have been discriminated against because of linguistic differences and targeted economically, despite their part of the country contributing 60 percent of the wealth. 'From one dictator to another dictator — imposed by the French,' he says.
Changing leaders in Cameroon does not solve the problem because it leaves a leadership vacuum. Ikome said they are trying to influence decision makers in the United States because of the large population of asylees there. He notes that the initial response of the US policy makers was to treat the situation as an internal problem within Cameroon, but through direct lobbying efforts they hope to make their voices heard by top decision makers.
'We are being killed, we are being systematically eliminated,' explains Ikome.