Cameroon Journal, Washington D.C – Who is MTN serving? –Subscribers or the Gov’t of Cameroon – Paul Biya? This weekend, the Mobile Telephone provider purposefully shut down internet communication from subscribers in the two Cameroon Anglophone regions of the Northwest and Southwest.
As we report, since Friday, subscribers of MTN in the two regions have not been able to make consistent use of social media. MTN has blamed the problem to a breakdown of network, attributing it to some faceless problem. But we want MTN to explain why such a breakdown is only affecting subscribers in Anglophone Cameroon, and only their ability to use social media.
The Cameroon Journal notes that the shutdown of MTN service occurred just right after the state killings and official brutality on civilians in Bamenda. The shutdown was thus meant to prevent subscribers in the two regions from posting some of the gory images coming from that incident on social media.
We observed that after the bloody brawl which led to the death of at least four persons in Bamenda, and the rate at which information was being circulated on social media exposing police brutality, and gov’t’s high handedness, the government suddenly became too allergic to social media. Knowing just too well that a majority of people in the two regions use mostly MTN, the regime had MTN disconnect network from millions of users in the regions at the peak of the strike action.
As a consequent, subscribers have been left without the ability to send text messages. They are equally denied access to social sites such as Facebook and WhatsApp which have become the main channels through which atrocities including extra-judicial killings by the Biya’s regime are exposed, and developments from ongoing strike action circulated. In other words, they have made it impossible for the Biya’s regime to cover-up or conceal the atrocities being committed by the state against a section of the country.
MTN is essentially conniving with Paul Biya’s regime to conceal evidence – the torture, the killings, the sufferings and the struggles of oppressed and marginalized Anglophone Cameroonians. MTN is an accomplice in the deaths that took place in Bamenda and they should be held accountable for it. They are slave masters’ agents.
The Biya’s regime in its characteristic high handedness, ordered MTN to shut down its network in the Southern Cameroons to prevent the message of protesting Anglophones from filtering out. And MTN whose existence in Cameroon is thanks to subscribers in these two regions, went ahead to betray customer trust by shutting down internet and then making flimsy excuses.
We note that in Cameroon, CAMTEL, a gov’t corporation, is the lone gateway through which all internet and phone service providers in the country get and distribute service. If network is down it should affect every aspect of communication, that is, including phone calls. That isn’t the case in the Northwest and Southwest.
The Cameroon Journal notes that despite the excuse that they had some network issues, MTN phone calls are still going through in these two regions, only ability to send and receive text or access social media like Facebook and WhatsApp have been hampered, evidence that the interruption is intentional.
This betrayal by MTN Cameroon to subscribers only in Anglophone Cameroon must be met with severe retaliation. MTN cannot and should not be allowed to make profit over the blood of innocent people.
At the Cameroon Journal, we are appealing to all conscientious Southern Cameroonians who see the current struggle as the only option available to reclaim our human rights, statehood and dignity, not only to boycott MTN products, every MTN sign hanging on any public place, buildings, street or road in the Southern Cameroons should be hauled down. Their offices in the two regions should be targeted until they are forced out of Southern Cameroons.
After all, MTN isn’t the only phone provider in the country. There is Orange and Nexttel too.