As the dust settles at the Yaounde maximum security prison, it is becoming clear that the demonstrations at the facility and the fire set to it have left a trail of death and destruction.
It is emerging that soldiers actually killed 4 detainees at the Kondengui maximum security facility on Monday night in a bit to quel the unrest that almost brought the facility down.
A source within the facility has said that the deaths occurred at the section of the facility known as Kosovo.
The sources also said that several inmates had been seriously injured, adding that many inmates might have also lost their lives.
To temporarily get the situation under control, some detainees have been transferred to the Groupement Speciale d’Operation, GOS and SED.
It should be underscored that the Yaounde maximum security facility had been designed for less than 1,000 inmates, but it is currently holding more than 5,000 prisoners.
To also cut off inmates from external influence, prison guards have shut down the Internet while a drone has been seen flying over the prison to ensure peace reigns at the facility at all cost.
The government also used the occasion to dispatch special anti-terrorist agents of the National Gendarmerie to the facility where they unleashed a reign of terror on Southern Cameroonians detainees who had staged a protest in the afternoon of Monday, demanding their immediate release.
The so-called anti-terrorist squad used tear gas and live ammunition on detainees, leaving a trail of death and destruction.
The government is using this opportunity to crack down on inmates who have, over the last week, become very vocal.
Prison guards have undertaken a thorough search of the facility to ensure that there are no weapons in the place.
The search conducted also targeted cell phones and it is alleged that there are huge human rights abuses, with guards asking for huge amounts of money from inmates if they want to keep their cell phones.
Among those injured in Monday’s incident are former prime minister, Ephraim Inoni and former health minister, Urbain Onangena, who have been in the facility for close to a decade for corruption charges.
Cameroon has been going through numerous crisis and Monday’s incident comes to underscore that the country’s beleaguered government is gradually losing its grip on power.
While all of this is playing out in the nation’s capital, the country’s president, Paul Biya, is somewhere in Luxemburg where he is being given emergency health care for his failing heart, enlarged prostate and memory loss that has caused his wife, Chantal Biya, to hand over his power of signature to her cousin, Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh who is the secretary general at the country’s Presidency.
Cameroon is on the verge of a catastrophic implosion. While Boko Haram is slaughtering civilians and soldiers in the northern part of the country, the Southern Cameroons crisis that has put the country in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, is threatening to tear the country apart.
For close to three years, Southern Cameroonian separatists have been locked in a tough battle with Cameroon’s soldiers in their quest for an independent country that will enable them to walk away with more than 60% of the country’s wealth that is buried in the country’s southwest region.
The southwest region is literally a cornucopia of natural and mineral resources that have helped to financed the beleaguered government’s corruption and lavish lifestyle.
But the country’s woes are not only located in the northern regions and in Southern Cameroons.
In the country’s eastern region, Central African Republic rebels have become a nightmare that will not go away anytime soon to the government and the local population.
Their constant incursions on border towns in Cameroon is sowing chaos in the country and the cash-strapped government is clearly incapable of dealing with this tricky situation on its borders.
With American, Canadian and German military assistance to Cameroon gone, the country has been weakened and it is obvious that it is caving in.
The situation has been made all the more complicated as huge corporations in Southern Cameroons have shut down their doors due to the chaotic and destructive armed conflict in the two English-speaking regions of the country.
The government is clearly staring down the barrel of bankruptcy, especially as its lone oil refinery has gone up in smoke.
The government will require more than USD 20 billion to restore the refinery and it has been running all over the world seeking loans, unfortunately to no avail.
Investors are boycotting Cameroon because it is on the verge of collapse. Its authorities are corrupt to the narrow and the government’s credit history leaves much to be desired.
It is obvious that Cameroon is on the brink of collapse and if the international community does not intervene, the country will collapse, taking with it, its fragile neighbors.
By Kingsley Betek and Linda Embi in Yaounde