Bamenda: Another Tragic December 8

Remains of shops at the Bamenda Hospital Roundabout 

Residents of Mbengwi road in Bamenda, capital of the restive North West region of Cameroon, have been in mourning as they watched their properties go up in flame helplessly. 

On several videos that have been circulating on the messaging App, whatsApp, eye witnesses throw the blame at men dress in military fatigue. 

Some say they was a road blockage towards the entrance to Mbengwi that forced passengers to descend from their cars and clear the road. 

The second incident on the same road was the detonation of an improvised Explosive Device, IED. This attack in a civilian settlement did not go down well as the men in military fatigue descended to burning houses as several rooftops could be seen on fire from a distance. 

This is further compounded with the fact that it is the dry season in this part of Cameroon. 

While residents were running helter skelter trying to save portions of their property, they was a further confrontation with between the Cameroon military and separatist fighters at the hospital Roundabout leaving at least two dead. 

Houses on fire

Shops leading to the Bamenda Regional Hospital were also set on fire. 

Several messages denouncing the act have been pouring on social media. With many asking where these people will relocate to. Other messages have rather blamed the residents for not reporting the planting of IEDs in their neighbourhood. 

With the stalls down to ashes, it is another December to remember for the bad reasons. 

Business owners who had stocked their shops for a great Christmas harvest have only the lord to look up to. Others who went an extra mile to get items will not only be gnashing their teeth but will have to start looking for alternatives to repay creditors. 

This sad incident in Bamenda happened on a certain December 8.

December 8th is historic in the North West Region of Cameroon. It was the first day that people were openly shot, in an effort to stop a March denouncing rising sentiments in Bamenda by the ruling CPDM party in 2016.

The population successfully stopped the organised parade but several persons lost their lives in what will Persist as an armed struggle going forward with demands from Teachers and lawyers trade unions shifting from a change in the current constitution to a Federal Republic and the demands today is an outright independence. 

In this quest to create a new Republic known as Ambazonia which will cover today's North West and South West Regions of Cameroon, no fewer than 3,500 lives have been lost with others getting permanent disability through maiming and shooting. 

In some other areas, villages have been completely razed like in KwaKwa in the South West Region. 

Large cities in Cameroon like the French speaking Douala, Yaounde, Bafoussam and others like far away Bertoua continue to host internally displaced persons fleeing the conflict in these restive regions. 

The government of Cameroon and the United Nations Development Program, UNDP, are seeking to reconstruct these regions and get back communities to their base. 

Though some people are hoping for an end to the crisis before the process begins, government argues that the suffering of the masses cannot continue for a further day. 

December 8, 2021 goes down as another very sad day in the history of the socio-political crisis in the North West region as hostilities between armed groups and government forces have increased in recent weeks leading to the end of the year. 


Ndi Tsembom Elvis

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