By Kevin Ebako, Tuesday, November 16, 2017
Southern Cameroons Journal, Yaoundé – A massive fire has erased Cameroun’s House of Assembly leaving very little of the edifice left to be saved. The fire outbreak started right after 10pm Thursday night November 16 according Cameroon Tribune, gov’t’s official daily, leaving some House Members, including the Speaker, cutting their sleep shot and racing to the scene in bewilderment and disbelieve.
The House Speaker, Cavaye Jibril, is captured among other members literally puzzled, with his left hand on his jaw, looking helpless as the wild fire chops and spreads through the building – from the 3rd to 7th floor.
"Difficult for now to give the causes of the fire that ravaged five floors of the administrative building of the National Assembly last night. The only certainty is that around 10pm that the fire broke out on the 7th floor, the last, before spreading on the others up to the 3rd floor, ravaging everything on its way favored by the slight breeze that blew on the city." The Cameroon Triune in French reported. It added that "The premises, stormed by a huge crowd, despite the late hour of the night were fully secured by elements of the defense and security forces. On the spot was the presence of the Brigadier General, commander of the first gendarmerie legion, Housseini Djibo, the officials of the institution including some Vice-Presidents, the Questeurs, the General Secretary, Victor Yene Ossomba and his two deputies, the administrative heads of the Center region headed by Governor Naseri Paul Bea and the prefect of Mfoundi, Jean Claude Tsila. The president of the chamber, Cavaye Yeguié Djibril went down on the spot later with his wife to see the damage. This fire is not the first that affects this part of the administrative buildings of this institution, even if that of last night will probably have caused the most damage."
In a country where firefighters rarely have any experience, some witnesses on the scene speaking to the capture of a cell phone video can be heard lamenting that instead of showing up with Water Cannons to put off the fire, the police and firefighters showed up rather with guns to put off the fire.
There has been no official statement yet from Gov’t. But early speculations are that the fire is the work of arsonists. Cameroon has for a year and counting been embroiled in political unrest with part of the country, the Southern
Cameroons (English Speaking) gunning for separation from the French Speaking part.
The President of Cameroon Paul Biya, has largely ignored the crisis, choosing not to make a single address. He has rejected calls for dialogue and instead deployed thousands of his army on the streets of major towns and cities in the Southern Cameroons who have since September 22 resorted to indiscriminate shooting and arrest of citizens.
Southern Cameroonians have since been promising retaliation, and it won’t be surprised that the burning of the National Assembly building is coming from such threats. They have persistently called on their Members of Parliament to withdraw and join in the fight for the restoration of an independent Southern Cameroons.
Last Tuesday at the opening of this quarter’s Plenary session of Parliament, all opposition members of Parliament withdrew, citing the unwillingness of both the Biya’s regime and Parliament to address the crisis which is already into a year and counting.
Stay tuned the rest of the day as we bring you full developments.