By Ewane Kevin , Monday, October 2, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Buea – The declaration on Saturday night September 30 of the independence of the Southern Cameroons by the leader of the separatist movement Ayuk Tabe Julius, preceded a fierce military attack on armedless people who had rallied out in their numbers the next day in celebration of the event.
More than a week before the announcement which the regime in Yaoundé saw coming, the two Southern Cameroons regions of the NW/SW had been entirely militarized by gov’t forces. Armature soldiers, police and gendarmes, mostly French speaking, were arbitrarily released from various training camps across the country and sent to the two regions to fight all attempts by protesters to celebrate and hoist flags of the declared nation – the Southern Cameroons.
The heavy presence on the streets of the military began to provoke tempers as early as Friday September 22. That day, hundreds of thousands of Southern Cameroonians turned out in peaceful marches across the territory, defying the military presence to demonstrate their resolve to carry on with celebrations of the would be nation.
On Sunday October 1, the actual day of celebrations, after the formal declaration by the Interim Chairman of the
Southern Cameroons Governing Council, people turned out all over the regions in the thousands, determined to hoist flags and sing the anthem of the new nation. While in some communities the exercise was as easy as 1, 2, 3, with the military mostly choosing not to intervene or perhaps afraid for their lives, in some others, it was total warfare provoked by the military.
In major cities like Buea, Bamenda, Kumba and towns like Mamfe, Tombel, Kumbo, Nkambe, the battle was fierce. Buea, the historical capital of the Southern Cameroons witnessed the fiercest of the battles. Residence from within and from the neighboring towns of Ekona, Muyuka, Muea, Tiko and Mutengenie defied a state of emergency passed by the local gov’t, and used bush road paths to converge on the city. The army, dotted in every part of the city and on the alert, began firing at the protesters as they arrive from various corners of the city, with helicopter manning the air and discharging tear gas and firing guns from the air.
In spite of such aggressive show of force by the military, protesters in Buea, kept the resolve to mount the Southern Cameroons flag which they succeeded to do at the popular Bongo Square. They then proceeded walking to the
Governor’s mansion before a fierce fighting put up by the government forces punctured their resolve. The numbers have not been independently confirmed, but it is being reported that as many as 7 people must have been shot to death in Buea alone. Buea this morning, a source told the Cameroon Journal, looks like a war toned zone. Stones, pebbles, sticks and tree branches litter the streets. The military lays in wait fearing more protest.
In Bamenda, the soldiers shot indiscriminately, killing people even in neighborhoods that had nothing to do with protest. The video is seen of a deserted Nanga Junction for example, of woman recording with her cell phone of an empty street, but with police shooting to death of a young man whose identity we have not been able to identify at press time. At Nkwen, another part of the city of Bamenda, a fierce battle went on for hours as the people confronted the police and the army that won’t let them go out for the celebrations. Several others were shot death here too. At an unnamed gas/petrol station down town Bamenda, the soldiers pounced on and savagely vandalized packed motorcycles belonging to youths who use them for transportation. In spite of the aggression from the military, the population in Bamenda like in Buea, succeeded to mount the Southern Cameroons flag and sang the national anthem of their new country.
While Buea and Bamenda were considered the main strongholds of the protest celebrations, every other town and city in the two regions also put up fierce resistance to the forces to hoist their flag and sing the anthem. In most of the locations, it got violent just as in Buea and Bamenda. Kumba for example, was equally reduced into a war zone. The Cameroon Journal learned. Mamfe too was deadly – with violence perpetuated by the military provoking thousands to the streets, leading to attempts by the crowds to arrest the Senior Divisional Officer, SDO. He succeeded to escape, but we gathered that his wife and family got the beatings of their lives in the hands of the angry protesters who accused the SDO of gunning one of theirs.
In Lebialem and some other counties, people gathered in Chiefs palaces, carried out traditional festivities, raised the flag, sang the anthem and then instructed that henceforth, no more orders from the police, the gendarmes, the Divisional Officer and the SDO. We gathered that at the SDO office premises in Menji, the green, red, and yellow flag of Cameroon was hulled down and replaced with the blue and white stripes flag of the Southern Cameroons.
Owing to Internet shut down by the Cameroon Gov’t prior to Sunday protests, the Cameroon Journal couldn’t immediately get stories coming in being that our editorial offices are based in the USA. However, beginning today, we will begin publishing details of all happenings from individual towns and cities.
It is still very hard to independently confirm the actual number of casualties. But according to Ayuk Tabe, Chairman of the Southern Cameroons Governing Council, over 40 people died as a result of the Sunday manifestations. All the killings are directly linked to gun shootings by Cameroon forces on a population that came out carrying mere tree branches and flags of their new nation.
While the country burns, Paul Biya, the President, remains in his hotel room in Swiss. He has not for a single moment during the 12months of the rebellion by Southern Cameroonians, care to make an address to the people. In the meantime, Ayuk Tabe, the leader of the people announced yesterday in an address after the demonstrations that
the struggle continues. It is time to secure the gains of Sunday, he told the population in a recorded audio message in which he equally thanked them for the great show of courage and solidarity despite severe intimidation from Gov’t forces on the ground and the state of emergency.
One message rank throughout the manifestations on Sunday – no more taking of orders from the colonial administrators, no taxes to be paid to them, no police, Gendarmes and Cameroon army in the territory. It therefore suggest that the coming days may even witness more violence as the communities continue their resistance of the administrators. We will continue to bring you developments as they happen.