On Tuesday, June 15, 2021, six delegates traveling by land to Ekondo Titi, Cameroon, on official assignments, were kidnapped by non-state armed forces for their “affiliation” with the government of Cameroon. You read the details of this event here
Many Cameroonians might have forgotten about this incident, but it remains fresh in my memory. I haven’t told the world that my eldest brother, Emmanuel, was among the kidnapped delegates. The incertitude of his situation has been the most challenging part, as we’ve had no news about the case for over 11 months. Is he alive? When would he return? How would we deal with the trauma?
On June 23rd, 2022, as part of my work engagement in Brussels, I had the opportunity to address the members of the EU-ACP parliament during their Joint Parliamentary Session on Youth Peace and Security in ACP countries. I used this opportunity to talk about the conflict in Cameroon, and how thousands of students across English-speaking regions have been affected by the crisis.
We all know that the international community’s reaction hasn’t been robust enough in terms of condemnation and action to ensure that the right to education is upheld. Nelson Mandela once said education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. But how can the children from English-speaking regions in Cameroon change the world when their right to education has been taken away?
Of course, making a case at the European Parliament will not bring back my brother. My two-minute advocacy will certainly not help families who have lost their loved ones and property. But I hope it will, at least, help trigger conversations and reactions that can prevent many other families from experiencing this ordeal.