Abdoulaye Thiam, better known by the nickname Calibri Calibro is on everyone’s lips. Following his video of his exchange with French President Emmanuel Macron, the activist of the Anti-Sardinard Brigade (BAS) has now established himself as the most publicized Cameroonian diaspora. But on the side of his detractors, he is also considered to be the one who crystallizes most critics.
If the media describe him as an activist, the Cameroonian government sees Calibri Calibro as a “quidam”. And for the fierce opponents of the Yaoundé regime, since he challenged the French president on the situation in Cameroon, he has looked like a hero. But who is he really?
July 2018, starting point
The weekly Jeune Afrique provides some answers. Born of a Franco-Senegalese father and a Cameroonian mother, Calibri Calibro was however an unknown in Cameroon two years ago. His first public appearance as an activist dates back to July 2018, after the revelation by the press of abuses committed by Cameroonian soldiers engaged in the fight against Boko Haram in Zelevet, in the Far North region.
Calibri Calibro then improvises a demonstration in front of the Cameroonian embassy in France. The movement is very little followed, but the activist stands out among the leaders of the Cameroonian regime’s protest present in the diaspora.
Abdoulaye Thiam arrived in France in 2002, and it was the “horror” that he experienced during the crossing of the Sahara and the Mediterranean which, according to him, founded his commitment. “It was Libya that forged the Calibri we know today,” he says. “I saw hundreds of Cameroonians being killed there. Thousands of Cameroonians have taken this path and the majority have lost their lives. I myself suffered the worst atrocities in Libya ” .
For Calibri Calibro, the manager is Paul Biya, whom he makes his main target. A determination that is further strengthened in the aftermath of the 2018 presidential election, at the end of which Paul Biya is proclaimed winner with 71% of the votes, to the chagrin of the diaspora activists who had actively supported Maurice Kamto.
Calibri Calibro then changed its strategy. Rather than targeting only Paul Biya, he now also attacks his supporters. In France he campaigned for the boycott of Cameroonian artists who supported the re-election of the Yaoundé sphinx, in particular those who shared the scene of the great support concert that had been organized at the Palais des Sports de Yaoundé, on the eve of the ballot.
The actions are also more spectacular. On January 26, 2019, we see Calibri Calibro in a video showing demonstrators who invade and ransack the Cameroonian embassy in Paris.
It is still he who is on the front line during the demonstrations of June 25 in Geneva, which had the clearly stated objective of disrupting the stay of the Cameroonian president and his wife in the Swiss capital.