News of increased violence and burning of villages is reported in North West and South West Regions of Cameroon. Some 2,000 people have died in the conflict and 400,000 have been driven from their homes, many of which have been torched. Retaliation flares up as a consequence. Health care workers, disabled people, religious have all been targeted. So many innocent people including children, have suffered – either kidnapped, imprisoned, tortured, wounded and killed either by gunfire or machete. It is extremely difficult for casualties to access medical assistance owing to road-blocks and lack of transport and so the death rate is high.
Understandably the people are scared of reporting atrocities for fear of retaliation by the perpetrators. but we can gain a good impression of the likely savagery from this eyewitness report of similar horrific occurrences six months ago, previously withheld from publication
FEBRUARY’S HORRIFIC CENTRE OF CARNAGE IN KUMBO TOWN from an eye-witness
“Non-violence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
The frustration of Southern Cameroonians has led to the mobilization of grassroots resistance to throw away the yoke of assimilation by the other parts of the country, thus occasioning a military conflict with government forces which has created the worsening humanitarian crisis which International Human Right Groups have termed a “blatant crime of genocide”.
The conflict has thus displaced thousands of people. This civil strife and resistance has steadily and quickly resulted in violent actions and confrontations between government security and defence forces and the secessionist militia groups, resulting in mass executions of both the fighters and the civilian population, burning, destruction of public and private property, loathing, wanton exterminations and threats. The constant digging of trenches across roads by secessionists to hinder military operations is on the rise. The Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s) are the sad fruits of this crisis.
The nights of Saturday February 16th to Wednesday 19th February will be forever remembered as days of horrific carnage. Abductions, wailing yelling, mourning, sighs of helplessness and flight into bushes amidst deadly military artillery fire make up the only language understood in Kumbo Town. It’s the second largest town in the North West Region of the embittered Anglophone Cameroon, once thriving with life and bustling economic activity. The war declared on the secessionists by the ageing President Paul Biya has taken on a new dimension, with daily horrific scenes and gross human rights abuses.
The week before those days saw the abduction of some teachers and some students of St Augustine’s College (“SAC”), in the Nso area, who after serious torture and flogging were released. Saturday 16th February witnessed a new wave of abduction where over 150 students were kidnapped in an early dawn raid on the campus and were taken off to an unknown location, along with some of the staff.
Later that night the soldiers who were supposed to have been protecting the population, launched a military raid along the Squares, Kongir, Tahkum, Dzenkar, Lun, Shisong axis, levelling 57 houses to the ground with military fire and blowing up three men with gunfire at Lun. Apparently, a group of soldiers bluntly told the people of Shisong that they had ten days of mayhem ahead of them.
As has been reported elsewhere, a little before noon on Sunday 17th February, the military infiltrated Shisong Hospital’s Cardiac Unit and traumatised the patients with random firing of bullets, forcing them to move out of the wards, and then ransacking the rooms before crossing into the Surgical Ward where deafening gunshots frightened everyone. This scared the patients all the more and two of them gave up the ghost. They took a young man with them who had come from the neighbouring village to greet his grandmother who had been admitted to the Cardiac Unit, and at every step he was promised death. (Fortunately he was released later in the day.) There was deathly silence in the hospital. Even the flies had no space to breathe, let alone to fly. The lawns and corridors which would normally be full of Internally Displaced Families and their children were all empty. Not even the sound of coughing could be heard. The people were so terribly scared. It was and remains a terrible experience for the patients, especially those at the cardiac unit.
Monday 18th February, saw an early dawn raid on the Kongir area, with houses of Internally Displaced Persons sacrificed to flames and with three youths having their brains blown out.
Kingomen and Mbuluf were not left out of the show on that same Monday. The military infiltrated Mbuluf village during the early hours at 3am, taking people by surprise. The first person who got out of his house was shot in the arm. Over thirty-three houses were demolished with military gunfire at Mbuluf, for allegedly taking care of Amba fighters and feeding them. Food items that might sustain the people who have fled for safety, if they should happen to come back from distant areas, have equally been destroyed by fire. People’s stocks of provisions are thrown out and set ablaze. Any electronic devices, any wine, beer or beverage and any livestock were looted. Goats, cows and chickens were shot at some places and not even removed. One man whose things were looted, was forced to push them against his will behind the military on his wheelbarrow.
Rumours say that there are still plans to move upon Nkuv and Kingomen “to eliminate rats” and bring about the same fate as far as destruction of property is concerned. Many families have evacuated their homes to seek refuge in bushes, caves, makeshift shelters … but the military infiltrate everywhere, slaughtering human beings like animals.
As soldiers engage in these raids, civilian-owned livestock is shot and carried away. Valuables looted from people’s houses – decent houses – are reduced to ashes; food stuff is burnt, and food that had been given to IDPs by NGO’s is also ruined by fire or destroyed as people flee into the bushes, some with deadly wounds and injuries.
As the situation prevails, the various Church denominations have been working round the clock to accommodate the thousands who have lost their homes and sought refuge. For all these days, they have been feeding the crowds who have arrived in and around Kumbo where the battle has been fierce. Those whose houses have gone up flames have to be provided with basic necessities because it is well nigh impossible for aid supplies to travel safely and avoid violence and road blocks.
On Tuesday 19th February, an early dawn raid was launched at Kikaikelaki – in the Takijah and Mah Triangle – where destruction of property was enormous.
This is just the tip of an iceberg. Many villages have been destroyed, including Ngehdzen, Mbam and others.
Nevertheless, there is hope that one day things will get better for the oppressed minority people of North West and South West Regions of Cameroon who are now experiencing really difficult times.
If the international Community remains silent, then it has sanctioned this centre of carnage and ethnic cleansing.
Ending with the following words of Martin Luther King, Jr, will be a fitting conclusion:
“I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”
Source: Independent Catholic News