The truth about the burning of the Mamfe Hospital might never be known, as no group has taken responsibility for the disaster which has left many ill people desperate, and residents of the Division frustrated.
Mamfe is gradually losing everything, and it is obvious that the town’s infrastructure is dwindling very fast and could face another disaster soon as Amba fighters are now threatening to burn the central market and any government offices which may be open for business. Mamfe has no electricity, no water and now, no hospital.
Residents of the town are scared that a health disaster such as cholera outbreak could hit the town soon, and this could result in thousands of deaths. Even Médecins Sans Frontières has packed out of the town and banks and financial institutions have also wrapped up operations, making it hard for retirees to earn their pension while many people now move around with large sums of money for lack of a secure place to keep their earnings.
Threats by Amba fighters to burn more public goods are making them guilty in the court of public opinion for the razing of the hospital which has been serving some 70,000 people.
Though some members of the public clearly hold that Amba fighters have crossed an invisible red line by burning a hospital, some others hold that to know the truth, investigators should scratch beyond the surface.
Following the razing of the hospital, the Cameroon Concord News Group has deployed undercover reporters to Mamfe for the organization to shed more light on an incident which is splitting the country.
The first findings clearly indicted the military while the second investigations conducted by speaking to victims and some members of the public which saw how the operation unfolded clearly accused Amba fighters, as some Mamfe boys were identified by nurses and some of these nurses have now left the town for fear of being killed by the fighters they identified.
Our correspondents have continued digging into the matter and they are unearthing some gory details which are clearly incriminating the military. The Cameroon Concord News Group is not passing any judgment but is simply reporting what it has uncovered.
According to sources our correspondents talked to, the Mamfe boys who had been identified were those who had earlier surrendered and are part of the government’s DDR. They are being used by the military to track and kill Amba fighters. The boys are now being taken to various locations to enforce the military’s decisions on how to destroy Amba camps or health facilities that are treating Amba fighters who have been shot by the military.
The military has, for years, been monitoring the Mamfe hospital and it had even taken away some patients they suspected were ill because they had been living in the bushes for too long. Those who had gunshot wounds were immediately arrested and later killed and buried by the military in unmarked graves.
The former Amba fighters who are now in DDR centers have become the eyes and ears of the military and it is alleged that the plan carefully hatched by the military was implemented by former Amba boys who came to the Mamfe Hospital with mattresses soaked with gasoline. The mattresses were later shot at, triggering a massive fire in seven out of the nine wards which made up the hospital which was commissioned in 1973 by the country’s first president.
The nurses who identified those boys have confirmed that the accent they heard was typical Manyu accent, but those who understand how the military operates clearly point out that those boys had been taking into DDR centers across the Southwest Region where the military is keeping a tight leash on them.
Sources close to the military have confirmed that the military uses very illegal and brutal methods in its conduct of a war that has resulted in the deaths of some 7,000 Cameroonians.
Many medical workers have been arrested by the military for treating Amba fighters and even staff of Médecins Sans Frontières have also been arrested and taken to Buea where they are being held in very tough and inhuman conditions even when the government understands that Médecins Sans Frontières has a right to treat anybody regardless of the side of the fight in which they are.
The military does not even trust local authorities and our investigations have revealed the homes of traditional rulers are constantly being searched without any justifiable reason. The palace of Chief Godson Oben, the Paramount chief of Mamfe, was thoroughly searched not long ago. The chief was surprised, and he happily allowed the lawless military officials to search his Palace and the only thing they found were costly wines which the Chief uses to entertain his visitors. Though the Chief was not very happy with such invasive searches, he however offered a bottle of expensive wine to the lawless military men which they promptly took and walked away from the Chief’s Palace.
Cameroon Concord New Group’s team is still on the ground, and it will continue to file in its reports as it uncovers new evidence. It should be pointed out that a military officer in Mamfe has informed his girlfriend that the military is looking for Cameroon Concord News Group’s journalists and he is seeking to use his girlfriend to identify any new faces in town.
The girlfriend, who is a strong Amba supporter, has promptly informed people who are sympathizing with Cameroon Concord News Group and the Group has used the means available to it to inform its diplomatic contacts in Yaoundé.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai with files from Kingsley Betek, John Besong and Fon Lawrence