North West: Road Blocks suffocates population, patients stranded

Women trekking to Bali

Inhabitants, business persons, patients going to and from Bali, Boyo and parts of Ngoketunjia Divisions have been stocked as access to these places remain difficult.

In Bali, an administrative ban on bikes from the Senior Divisional Officer of Mezam, Simon Emile Mooh after the killing of some police officers with the assassins running away on motorbikes, a faster method of transportation by separatist fighters. This ban on the circulation of bikes in Bali subdivision for the period of three months renewable met a stiff resistance from the Non state armed groups who issued a counter, banning the circulation of cars.

New means of transportation 

Bali is on the Trans-African highway, linking Bamenda in Cameroon to Enugu in Nigeria. Trade along this stretch of road has been paralysed, with several business persons looking for alternative roads to meet potential clients or supplies to and from Nigeria. The situation remains even precarious as Healthcare is difficult to come by, with people trekking from Bali to Bamenda, a distance of not less than 19km to purchase goods of basic necessity.

Two weeks on, prices of goods of basic necessity have witnessed an increase across the subdivision meanwhile in Bamenda, drivers who ply the road to Bali, Batibo, Widikum and Mamfe have had it difficult to work. Several drivers and passengers now use the Bamenda-Mbengwi, Mbengwi - Batibo stretch of road to reach their destination on the Trans-African highway.

The situation is not different on the Bamenda- Fundong road where traffic circulation is currently at zero.

To get to Fundong, capital of Boyo Division, commuters have to pass through Mbingo, which hosts the Mbingo Baptist hospital, one of the referral hospitals in the region. Patients discharged from the hospital cannot get back to their homes.

It even gets worse as those seeking medical care cannot access the hospital. People leave from as far as Douala, Cameroon's economic capital and  other parts of the country to seek medical attention here.

The drivers plying this road decided to stop working after 8 of them were arrested. Our findings hold that the leaders of the drivers syndicate had contributed money to 'bribe' separatist fighters to stop harassing them on the road.

An act not accepted by the regular army on the ground as they expect maximum collaboration from these drivers if they can locate the camps.

Belo was a red zone in this crisis with remnant of a once busy three corners left in ruins. This current stop in circulation, means those traveling to Bafmeng in Menchum Division through Fundong cannot go home.

The road to Ndop has been blocked around Bamessing.

Communities that continue to play host to separatist fighters are hardest hit in this crisis. From an observation stand point, these fighters who present themselves as liberators have gradually become worse than oppressors.

Knowing the adverse effects the people they claim to protect are going through, staying in a crisis that is hitting its fifth year, these fighters imposing a ban on the circulation of cars, or continues harassment of drivers is unheard of.

The harassment of drivers on the highway by uniform officers have been greatly condemned.

Supposed liberators have come to still suffocate these drivers for their personal aim.

From Bamenda to Bali before the crisis costs 500FCFA. Today, it stands at over 1500FCFA with additional check points mounted by separatist fighters.

Communities in unison have to come out to talk to their children to stop inflicting pain on them and look for a better way to improve on their communities without necessarily depending on  funds from the state. This approach should be adopted by all and sundry for the North West posed a resilient economy build by private individuals with an investment mindset.


Ndi Tsembom Elvis

Pictures: Mbuh Stella

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