Explosion Around Azire Old Church Sends Ripples of Fear in Bamenda

By Hans Ngala, Friday, October 20, 2017

Southern Cameroons Journal – An explosion at Azire Old Church, a neighborhood in Bamenda has sent chills running down the spines of residents in Bamenda. The explosion was heard at about 6:00a.m October 20.

It is not clear what happened but residents, including an evangelical pastor who spoke to us on conditions of anonymity said he heard a loud blast at about 6:00 am Friday.

“With the kind of atmosphere that reigns in this town and all over, no one could go outside” he said. “I frankly do not know what happened but am convinced it was not a kind of weapon being carried by a civilian” the pastor said.

At the time our reporter arrived the scene after hearing of the incident, there was already a heavy presence of security officials and no one at the immediate scene was willing to talk to the press. The security men threatened to break the device of anyone found taking pictures or recording anything.

The blast comes almost a month after another explosion took place not too far from the scene of today’s explosion. What was purported to have been a “locally-made bomb’’ exploded at about 7:30 a.m. at Hospital Roundabout on September 20, injuring three soldiers.

NW Governor had called the incident an act of terror. No one has since claimed responsibility, though eyewitness accounts in this previous incident said the explosion was likely a hand-held grenade that accidentally went off because it happened in the midst of the three soldiers only.

Friday’s explosion happened not too far from the Presbyterian Church at Azire where a school is located. But it is not clear if the school was a target. The pastor there was not available for comment at press time.

No one has claimed responsibility, but some English-speaking Cameroonians have been quick to suggest that government is behind these explosions so it can blame it on Anglophones and discredit their struggle.

A few months back, Cameroon’s Communications Minister claimed that an “Ambazonian” had been arrested with weapons in Mbengwi but nothing has since been heard of that case again. The weapons alleged to have been confiscated from the man were never shown, leading to conclusions that it was another hoax cooked up by Yaoundé to give Southern Cameroonians a bad name in order to hang them.

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