The October 1 demonstrations have left indelible scars in the Northwest and Southwest Regions. Over 100 people are feared dead following the shooting of demonstrators with live bullets, as about 10 corpses were fished out of the bushes in Buea on October 2.
From Donga Mantung to Bui, through Mezam to Manyu, Ndian, Kupe-Muanengumba, Lebialem to Fako, scores of corpses of people cut-down by bullets from the guns of the forces of law and order littered the streets. All the streets and neighbourhoods in the former West Cameroon’s political capital were heavily militarised.
Show Down In Buea
Buea woke up on Sunday to a rather calm atmosphere. But at about 9.00am, Mutengene mobilised and started marching to Buea to declare what they termed the “Independence of the Ambazonian Republic” and consequently hoist the Ambazonian flag. The population was stopped by a regiment of security forces. There were sporadic scuffles between the soldiers and the demonstrators.
The forces of law and order succeeded to block the main road into Buea, but the resolute demonstrators diverted into the bush and converged on Mile 16.
The number of demonstrators was further swelled by the population of Mile 16, which has been a volatile neighbourhood in Buea, since the escalation of the Anglophone Crisis. As the troops were trying to quell the combined population of Mutengene and Mile 16, denizens of Muea and Ekona neighbourhoods rose in fury.
The troops responded by firing grenades and tear-gassing the population. In the midst of the confusion and tussle, one person was killed by the smoking gun of a police officer. The troops were now fighting a war on two fronts, Muea and Mile 16. As the peaceful demonstrators’ efforts to march through the main axis to Mile 17 and then through the Biya Boulevard to the Independence Square were thwarted by the combat-ready security forces, the unyielding demonstrators took back streets, bush tracks and foot paths to converge on the Independence Square, where they had planned to hoist the Ambazonian flag.
They were spotted by a military helicopter that was hovering over Buea and those on board the helicopter alerted the infantry, who responded by blocking all access roads leading to the Independence Square.
The demonstrators who had taken the Muea-Buea Town Road passing through Bokwai, hauled stones at the helicopter that was flying low and firing tear gas at them, to ward it off. The stones almost brought down the helicopter which flew away but returned to the area called CAMTEL Antenna and sprayed bullets into the palm bushes, undergrowth and trees. Many were caught by the bullets.
There were sporadic gunshots here-and-there in town and over four demonstrators were sent to the land of no return. The troops seized and carted away the bodies of some of the felled demonstrators while families and friends carried others for burial.
It was not until the following day, when people went looking for their loved ones that they reportedly discovered corpses and alerted family members.
Several other corpses were discovered behind the Governor’s Office, behind the Catholic Church Lower Farms and behind the Buena Central Market. The demonstrators had apparently gone there to hoist the Ambazonian flag as they had sworn to and were supposedly shot by troops guarding the area.
Same Scenario In Other Parts Of Southwest
In Kumba, the situation was relatively calm, but for intermittent gunshots in reaction to fire crackers that were unleashed by the population in some neighbourhoods. The gunshots also brought down a lawyer on Bamileke Street. According to reports garnered, on September 30, security forces wasted the life of a certain Basil Enongene.
In Tombel, a young man was reportedly shot dead by the police. The irate population responded by setting the Tombel Court and the State Prosecutor’s office ablaze.
In Banga Bakundu, three persons were reportedly shot by armed troops, two on the leg and one on the head. Another casualty was recorded in Yoke, Muyuka, when scores of villagers from Bafia reportedly confronted the police. In the stand-off that ensued, a certain Emmanuel was gunned down, while others were arrested, molested and whisked off into detention.
In Mamfe, at least one person was gunned down by the police. Things turned more bloody when the people of Akwaya joined those of Mamfe. Three security operatives were reportedly seriously assailed by the angry population.
Meanwhile, at Mile 12 Ikiliwndi, six persons buckled under the bullets of gendarmerie officers. In the Lebialem Division, the people of Alou, early Sunday morning, gathered at the village square and started marching to the Chief’s Palace, carrying peace plants and chanting liberation songs with deafening blasting of their whistles.
When they got to the deceased Chief’s Palace, the eldest queen of the land was given the opportunity to hoist the Ambazonian flag and the Ambazonia anthem was chanted, followed by other liberation songs, as the people declared their independence from the Republic of Cameroon.
An elite of the area who was dispatched from Yaounde to come home and soothe his kith and kin, was held under house arrest by the population. The forces of law and order watched helplessly as the Ambazonian flags were hoisted across the Subdivision.
Bloody Situation In Northwest
In Kumbo in the Northwest Region, seven persons were shot dead in cold blood by security forces. Five of the deceased, according to security reports, were inmates of the Kumbo Principal Prison, who attempted to escape after the detention facility was set on fire, while the two other civilians were young protesters who summoned the gumption and attempted to hoist the Ambazonian flag before they were brought down by security grenades.
Over nine bodies of people killed as a result of haphazard shooting, were transferred from Kumbo to Jakiri by angry demonstrators and over 137 inmates of the Kumbo Principal Prison were ferried to the Bamenda Central Prison.
In Ngokentunjia Division, a certain Pascal Tangunu aka Masco was eliminated by gendarmerie officers. But the Ambazonian flag was successfully hoisted in the Bamunka Fon’s Palace and the Ngoketujia Hills. At the Bambalang Gendarmerie Brigade Post, at least four demonstrators were wounded with grenades as they attempted to hoist the Ambazonian flag on the Gendarmerie premises.
In Nkambe, precisely in Ndu, the angry population confiscated the gun of a police officer. After seizing his gun, the police officer faked his own death just to be spared by the mob. He only resuscitated after his gun was handed over to the Fon. Meanwhile, the Brigade Commander in the area was also hospitalised. Three civilians were seriously injured by bullets from security rifles and are presently receiving treatment at the Nkambe Divisional Hospital.
The Boyo Division also witnessed fierce clashes between the forces of law and order and angry demonstrators. In the Divisional capital, Fundong, three civilians were shot by security forces and are presently receiving medical attention. The forces became vulnerable when they ran out of bullets and tear gas.
To defend themselves from the now incensed crowd, they resorted to a stone-throwing match with the mob. It only took the timely intervention of a military helicopter that was hovering over the Northwest Region to rescue the vulnerable gendarmerie officers. Despite the reinforcement from the helicopter, the service car of the Senior Divisional Officer, SDO, for Boyo was razed.
At the Ngomgham neighbourhood in Bamenda, at least three persons were shot and were quickly ferried to the hospital where they are battling between life and death. In Mile 4 Nkwen, Bamenda, over four deaths were recorded from military gunshots.
In Mbengwi, security forces led by the DO, entered the Presbyterian Church while offerings were going and dispersed the congregation leaving the pastors very angry. Other churches were also dispersed. Same thing happened in Bamenda where security forces dispersed church services.
Meanwhile, hundreds were arrested and brutalised, some sustaining very serious injuries like fractures, and are being sent to await trial in prisons. In Bamenda, the detentions centres, mainly the Gendarmerie Legion, were full until the Bamenda Congress Hall served as one. In Buea, detention facilities were full and some of the people were reportedly detained in a private hotel premises.
In all, close to a thousand have been detained in horrible conditions in the two Anglophone Regions.