British natural resources company ‘New Age African Global Energy’ announced a Natural Gas deal worth over £1.5 billion in Cameroon today, sparking controversy over the situation in Southern Cameroon.
The deal involves the development of the Etinde field, located off the coast of Cameroon, with a floating liquefied natural gas platform that was recently leased from Vantage Drilling. The rig is expected to be on-station for at least 150 days, and will involve international LNG/LPG carriers offshore and a gas export line to Limbe, a city in the contested South-West region of Cameroon. The British Embassy has stated that the project will create 350 skilled jobs, split between onshore and offshore positions.
A former British colony, many residents of Southern Cameroon were looking to the British government for support during the current crisis, and so this latest development has been a highly controversial event. There has been a furious response to the deal as the British government is now seen to be supporting the Biya regime despite documented human rights abuses and incidents in the same region. The deal also casts aspersions over the visit over the Minister for Africa, Harriet Baldwin, earlier this year. It had been considered that the Minister had been seeking to mediate in the Anglophone Crisis, however, this now appears impossible. Instead, it appears highly likely that the Minister played some role in promoting the deal to her Cameroonian counterparts.
‘New Age African Global Energy’ has an interesting history that should also be considered when viewing this investment. New Age’s backers, the US hedge fund Och-Ziff, were previously found guilty of paying more than $100 million in bribes to government officials in Chad, Niger, Libya, Guinea and the DRC to secure natural resources deals. The hedge fund (and it’s subsidiaries) were forced to pay a $2.2 million fine to settle a record-keeping violation, and a further massive $413 million fine for related criminal and civil charges. This shady heritage raises serious questions about the validity of the New Age deal.
Finally, whilst the recent military deployments to Southern Cameroon had only been considered in the context of the Anglophone crisis, it is clear that the New Age deal adds another dimension for the Biya regime, with the security of the Limbe port being vital to the success of the project. This may result in further heavy military deployment to the region.
The reaction to the deal has been marked by fury at the British Government, which is seen to be stealing resources illegally from the independent state of Ambazonia, as opposed to assisting its former brethren to solve the Anglophone Crisis. Threats have already been made towards the project from elements in the region, although there is an overriding sense of great disappointment, disillusionment and hurt from local citizens.
From an independent perspective, rarely has British policy in Africa appeared so callous in recent years. Citizens of the former British Southern Cameroons have been calling out to Britain for support for generations, but especially since the start of the current phase of the Anglophone Crisis. Britain’s silence- and consequent agreement with the government of Cameroon- speaks volumes as to its position on the anglophone crisis. Questions will undoubtedly be raised in parliament about the investment, but that will likely require the information and data of this project to have any impact.
It is important to note that the UK Government is under pressure to announce trade deals due to pressure surrounding Brexit, however, there is a distinct possibility that this announcement may backfire on them in the long run.
Ultimately, today’s announcement was a deeply unwelcome, wounding intrusion into the affairs of Ambazonians, and it would be logical to expect a response in some form in the coming days.
9 thoughts on “Controversial Deal Adds New Dimension to Anglophone Crisis”
It’s with a heavy heart that I read a publication like reasons being that thesame British government had a hidden agenda as to why it had been silent on the Conflict in the land of my birth. But however 56 years is way too long for us to know what we want. We shall defend our land.
This is a very critical moment in the history of the Southern Cameroonians who face an existential war waged on them by the CameroUn president who has been in power for over 36 years. This government has marginalized and treated Southern Cameroonians as a subjugated people for over 57 years.
The present case of the People of the former British Southern Cameroons is that despite the Plebiscite and despite Resolutions 1541 and 1608(XV) of the United Nations, the Republic of Cameroon simply ignored all the Resolutions and agreements reached and illegally occupied the British Southern Cameroons. Not one of the terms of the pertinent United Nations Resolutions was respected, nor the promises made by the Republic of Cameroon (LRC) herself.
British Southern Cameroon effectively moved from one colonial master- Britain – onto another called La Republique du Cameroun (LRC).
The ongoing genocide
Currently, hundreds of young Southern Cameroonians are being shot, killed and buried in mass graves. Last week a whole village was burnt down including bodies of some elderly persons who were unable to run into the bushes.
For the United Kingdom to sign oil deals with the dictatorial regime in Yaoundé means that they
British are supporting genocide in the former British Southern Cameroons aka Ambazonia. This is s disgrace to the British people and corruption of the highest standard. We now understand that the British government does not want to solve this problem because of the shady deals they made with France in 1961 and sold the people of former British Southern Cameroons. Where in the world can one lean for justice when the best democracies in the world are supporting genocide. Think about women and children living in the forests with all the dangers. My heart bleeds. Where are the righteous few of this world?
There is no Anglophone crisis. There is a British and French neocolonialism crisis. And it can be solved. Britain and France have to stop neocolonialist exploitation of Africa.
Same old games. The colonial masters never left Africa. Shame to the Britts for choosing this time when Ambazonia is fighting to recover herself from the auction the Britts made of them to the French. it will not work. We will fight to the last man standing.
This deal can be termed blood deal because the proceeds will be used by the Cameroon regime to strengthen its genocide campaign on the people of Southern Cameroons. Bowleven should back off the deal. I have also not seen any invirome tal impact assessment so, not only the exploitayltion area includes part of North Southern zone of Southern Cameroon, the impact on the local environment is not know.
The UK should stop the deal and rather concentrate on providing a solution to the crisis in Southern Cameroons.This deal is a wasted one because the Youths in Southern Cameroons are really angry.
Billy thank you so much for the article
This development is indeed truly unfortunate as Britain was in a unique position to counter the cowardice of the overpaid (silent) talking heads of the United Nations, who are seen to be waiting for a full-blown Rwanda to occur in Cameroon, at which time they will scream with fake indignation even as they dive in to take advantage of the opportunity to make even more money at the expense of Cameroonian lives. This will not end well, and Britain has lost any credibility it may have had when opposed to France, in its dealings with “uncivilized black Africans.” This will not end well at all, and history will not be what will document the UK’s complicity and shame – social media wiil, in real time.
The UK has completely lost its moral compass and Brexit will make it worse. As an immigrant, I voted Leave in the Brexit referendum in 2016 because I drew parallel from the Southern Cameroons seeking to gain back control from Yaoundé in the same way the UK was fighting to gain back control from Brussels.
Unfortunately that vote has now reverted to bite me as we see hypocrisy of the UK that is willing to do just anything to secure trade deals in total disregard of human rights abuses in the Southern Cameroons as it leaves the EU.
Can the UK learn from Portugal. First and foremost, let’s reiterate that the oil and gas resources are in the Southern Cameroons or the Anglophone region and it is what the French Cameroon regime is determined to kill all Anglophones for.
Instead of the UK exercising its residual responsibility to free the Southern Cameroons and carry out direct trade deals with the Southern Cameroons, in the same way Portugal did in its former colony of East Timor( Timo – Leste) against Indonesia, the UK goes to sign a deal with the corrupt regime in Yaoundé despite its record of gross human rights violations, alleged crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity In the Southern Cameroons. As such, giving credence to the reckless, barbaric regime in Yaoundé.
In East Timor, when Portugal left, Indonesia stepped in and recolonised the people of East Timor in the same way the UK handed over the Southern Cameroons and left, setting the stage for black on black colonisation. That really wasn’t an issue for Portugal. But when Indonesia started exploiting the natural resources of East Timor and signing trade deals with Australia, Portugal immediately stepped back and sued Indonesia and pushed for East Timor’s right to self-determination.
Besides trade, Portugal took it as a mockery to its cultural identity vested in the people of East Timor and couldn’t just stand on the sidelines but fought for East Timor’s right to self-determination. But here we are with the UK, instead of recognising it’s past errors, chooses to humiliate itself on the world stage yet again through Yaoundé instead of following the East Timor precedent.
The next thing will be to increase military assistance to Yaoundé so that the French Cameroon regime can continue the killing of our people to take our resources. However, our people are determined than ever before that the Yaoundé regime will kill to the last person and the sooner the UK realises this and do the right thing, it is a bad investment for the UK.
This must be stopped!!
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