Sunday Dec 12, 2021. 10:00
Organisers of the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations have promised a safe tournament, amidst threat from separatists in Cameroon that they will attack host cities.
The AFCON is scheduled to run from January 9 to February 6 and Cameroon president Paul Biya has accused separatists and politicians of wanting to project a bad image of the country, thereby undermining his rule.
“We have told politicians that Cameroonians want a peaceful CAN [AFCON],” said territorial administration minister and permanent secretary of the country’s national security council Paul Atanga Nji, as quoted by VOA.
“Politicians should be reasonable. All Cameroonians should be ambassadors behind our great leader, President Paul Biya, to make this AFCON a great event. Any attempt to disrupt public order will be dealt with squarely.
“I am very clear, the regional governors have taken up the challenge to promote peace, unity, tranquility, and living together during the AFCON.
Nji specifically accused opposition leader Maurice Kamto, who still insists he won the 2018 presidential elections, of planning to disrupt the games.
Kamto, though, says he will use the AFCON as a chance to educate civilians on the need for Cameroon to revise its electoral code, which he says unfairly favours Biya.
Meanwhile, Langmi Nestor, spokesperson of the separatist Ambazonia National Self Defense Council, has warned that fighters have been instructed to disrupt the games in Limbe and Buea if Biya does not withdraw its troops fighting separatists in the English-speaking western regions.
“Biya must either come to the negotiation table [with separatists] or we give sleepless nights. The freedom of the people of Ambazonia is far more important than any nonsense in the name of the African Nations Cup.”
Cameroon’s military says it has deployed troops to the border between French-speaking and English-speaking regions to stop rebels from advancing during AFCON.