Mixed security forces have fired “numerous rounds” of teargas at striking students at the University of Buea, as unrests continue to spread across English-speaking Cameroon.
Eyewitnesses said the forces have also beaten up and arrested scores of students, after hundreds gathered outside the Vice Chancellors office for a peaceful demonstration.
“Gendarmes are everywhere,” said an eyewitness. “They have blocked all entrances into the university and have entered student residential areas.
“Right now, they have fired numerous rounds of teargas and are beating up anyone they suspect to be a student. Many have been taken away in their vans.”
Students, calling themselves members of the University of Buea Student Union, issued a statement denouncing a fee of CFA10,000 imposed by the university for online registration.
They also want university authorities to extend annual grants from the president to all students and to abolish weekend lectures.
The Standard Tribune has not independently authenticated the statement widely circulated in Buea, in the media and social media on Monday. It is unsigned.
Monday morning, they gathered outside the Central Administration building that houses the Vice Chancellor’s office and sat across the main entrance into the university’s main campus in Molyko.
They say the strike is also in solidarity with Anglophone lawyers and teachers, which have crippled courts and schools in most of the North West and South West regions.
“We reaffirm our support for the common law lawyers and the teacher’s trade union of southern Cameroon origin and hereby reinforce it with a strike a general strike,” the statement read.
Students’ demands range from purely academic issues to strong political questions currently rocking the parts of the country formerly known as West Cameroon.
“We also affirm that [any] negotiations that are [not] backed by the return to federalism are unacceptable by us,” they said.
It was an apparent reference between Prime Minister Philemon Yang and several Anglophone groups, including lawyers and teachers, in Bamenda last Friday.
Both lawyers’ and teachers’ leaders said their strikes would continue indefinitely because the meetings produced nothing to warrant a call of.
They are denouncing an apparent dominance of French in Anglophone courts and schools and broader issues of marginalization of minority English speakers in the country.