By Elias Ntungwe Ngalame,
The diplomatic rift between Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea has yet suffered another setback, following the repatriation of over 500 Cameroonians from that country last week.The state radio announced on Friday 29 May that over three hundred Cameroonians resident in Equatorial Guinea were ferried home and handed over to the Cameroonian security at Kiosi, a border town with Equatorial Guinea in the South Region.
Over 200 more are reported to have arrived on Saturday 30 May.
Security sources in Yaounde said the Cameroonians were forcefully chased following repatriation orders from the Equatorial Guinea government for all Cameroonians illegally resident in that country.
A presidential decree to that effect was signed by President Obiang Nguema Mbazogo. All illegal residents were given up to 20 May to leave.
Friday's incident brings to three expulsion orders in nine months issued by Equatorial Guinea government against Cameroonians in that country.
The first expulsion orders were given some few months back after Cameroonians were suspected of masterminding two successful bank robberies in one night in the city of Bata.
The second followed a few months later after xenophobic attacks led to open conflicts between Cameroonians and Equato-Guineans.
The incident provoked bitter diplomatic antagonism between the leaders of both countries, Obiang Nguema and Paul Biya, urging the latter to dispatch a special envoy to Bata for a breakthrough.
Diplomatic relations between both countries, according to officials from the Ministry of External Relations, have not been very cordial.
It is therefore not surprising that Equatorial Guinea government reached such a radical decision without consulting its neighbouring government and in flagrant violation of the tenets binding members of the prestigious regional body, CEMAC.
Observers wonder how regional integration can forge ahead when some government leaders keep on winding the hands of the clock backward