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Separatist leader Anu Fobeneh hires Washington lobbyists as conflict with government forces drags on
Cameroon's Anglophone separatist movement, the Federal Republic of Ambazonia, to step up its lobbying campaign in the United States, after contracting Scribe Strategies & Advisors, led by veteran Washington influencer Joseph Szlavik (AC Vol 64 No 11, Succès on K-Street).
Filings with the US State Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, suggest that Scribe's work will include 'advising, counseling, and assisting the foreign principal in communication with US government officials, US business entities, and non-governmental audiences', initially for a $10,000 fee. Scribe has one of K-Street's largest clientele of African opposition leaders and governments.
The separatist group's president, Chris Anu Fobeneh, lives in exile in Texas after being declared persona non grata in Cameroon. A former spokesman for the self-declared Republic of Ambazonia, Anu Fobeneh took over leadership of the independence movement in western Cameroon in September 2022, as it appeared to be losing support among southern Cameroonians amid allegations of infighting, corruption and human rights abuses.
Following President Paul Biya's decision in 2017 to send the army to crush peaceful protestors of the Anglophone minority, demands for independence for 'Ambazonia' have mutated into an armed insurrection (AC Vol 59 No 20, Biya's no-change election).
More than 6,000 people have been killed and over 500,000 displaced in the country's northwestern and southwestern regions, where 2.2 million people need humanitarian assistance, while a report by Amnesty International in July pointed to mass killings, acts of torture, rapes, burning of houses and other atrocities committed in the Anglophone regions by the army, state authorities and militias.
However, the string of recent coups across the Sahel and West Africa have prompted fresh speculation about the solidity of the 90-year-old Biya's regime (AC Vol 64 No 18, An iron grip may be slipping).
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