By Pang Joseph, Monday, September 4, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Kumba – Despite the much heralded back to school campaign by government officials, residents of Kumba woke up this Monday, September 4, to experience one of the most intense ghost town operations since the advent of the Anglophone crisis last October 2016.
Majority of the schools we visited Monday morning were like grave yards – completely deserted. In some cases, the few teachers who turned up hurriedly concluded their meeting and headed back home as pupils and students did not show up. In one of the schools, the founder even got furious with the teachers who turned up and questioned them, “why are you people coming to school when everybody has not been released, I don’t want to see anybody around, just go home.”
As we ponder on the statement we realised that the “shadow” of the author of the coffin revolution, Mancho Bibixy still lives on and it is the talk of the town and people are chatting in small groups, wondering why he was not released. Prior to this Monday, information has been going around on social media and via sms declaring this week’s ghost town in honour of Mancho Bibixy. Not even the release of Balla, Fontem, Ayah and others would change the situation, an activist told us. “We want everybody out including our hero, Mancho, before we can even be talking of dialogue which would determine school resumption,” some activist told us.
Kumba was dead this morning as we took a tour of the city. By 9 am, the Kumba main market which is the largest in South West was still closed, a market which is usually opened by 6 am. There was no traffic in town, taxis were absent and just a handful of bikers were in circulation. The intensity of the ghost town was felt even in the neighborhoods and quarters. Local street corner shops were closed and in one inner neighbourhood at Buea Road, residents told us that, “even the boy who supplies bread did not come today, we have never seen this kind of situation.”
Around town, we spotted few security officers watching how the event was unfolding. We were told that most of their elements have been deployed to schools as prescribed by the Ministerial Order which sent them to Anglophone towns.
In other areas of the South West region, notably Eyumojock, there was dead silence with residents instead taking to farming. Schools were also shut down as well and some officers at the Ekok border crossing into Nigeria voiced out their frustration at the slow pace of business today. Even the presence of politicians including Hon. Okpu Susan of Eyumojock did not succeed to convince the people to send their children to school. The people remained resolute on their stance that the Anglophone problem must be solved in its entirety before the talk of school resumption.