The nation has observed the two days of national mourning decreed by President Biya on the 28th and 29th of July 2017. In different places of worship, believers prayed for the repose of the souls of the 34 people who died after a military vessel wrecked off the coast of Dibuncha in Southern Cameroons.
The bodies of 11 service men recovered from the seabed were handed over to the families after military honors and posthumous decoration with medals during a ceremony in Douala attended by hundreds of people. The Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defense, Joseph Beti Assomo chaired the occasion.
The eleven caskets were ushered into the esplanade of the 201 Airbase in Douala provoking an emotional reaction from all those present. The nation was honoring 34 soldiers and civilians who perished in a logistic vessel belonging to the Rapid Intervention Battalion force that was sailing to the Bakassi peninsula.
The casket of the commander of vessel, Lt Colonel Musa was at the forefront followed by the remains of nine soldiers, a police officer and a civilian all of whom were given posthumous decoration by the Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defense, Joseph Beti Assomo. Two of the three soldiers who survived the tragedy were also awarded medals of recognition during the ceremony.
The Commander of the Rapid Intervention Battalion, (BIR) Coast Guard, Colonel Belinga Henry, in the lone eulogy at the ceremony painted the circumstances that surrounded the wreckage. He said the BIR Logistic vessel code named “Le Mundemba” left Limbe in the Southern Cameroons on Sunday 16th July 2017 at 4:30am. It was sailing to the Bakassi peninsular on a mission, with 37 people on board including 21 soldiers, 12 civilians and construction material.
He revealed that the vessel was hit by very rough waves after they had sailed for about an hour near Debunscha. Le Mundemba sank to the depth of 35 meters below sea level with 34 persons inside the cabin of the vessel. The three survivors were on guard out of the cabin, he added. The Senior Divisional Officer for Wouri, Joseph Bertrand Mache Njouonwet, later read out the Head of State’s condolence message to the bereaved families.