By Pang Joseph, Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Southern Cameroons Journal, Yaoundé – As the government declared war on pro-Southern Cameroons activists continuous in Manyu, the dead toll on the side of the military continues on the increase forcing some families, especially Francophones to arrange for their children’s exit from the military.
Even though official government communiqué talks of just 15 soldiers killed so far, activists have painted a different story of more lives lost. A notorious online activist Akoson Pauline recently claimed more than 100 military men have been slain by invisible forces in Manyu. A similar story has also been told by Mark Bareta.
This is making many military families of Francophone origin to call on their children serving in the military to defect and find a way out of Manyu and the country if possible. The SC Journal met one Anglophone family whose son has been serving in the military for about five years. We arrived when news of his deployment had just been announced and it was a pathetic scene at the family residence in Yaoundé.
The kid sister called him and in an angry tone warned him not to engage in any frontline combat but look for a way to flee because they are not ready for any negative news. “Look, others who were sent have abdicated because they are killing military men every day, your hierarchy is not telling you
the truth, they are here comfortable in Yaoundé while using you as a sacrifice for their selfish aims,” she warned. To buttress her claim, she stated that, “the other day the lifeless body of our neighbor was found in Mamfe and the government did not announce it, so please if you can run even to Nigeria, do it.”
The SC Journal gathered that young men at the battle field are regularly calling in to family and describing horrible scenes of gun fire coming from all directions but they can’t see the people, they appear to be invisible. Some of them talk of fighting against “ghosts.” It was such calls that caused “Mama Marie” (not her real name), a business woman in Yaoundé of francophone extraction to contact one of her Anglophone neighbors to help her son in the military out of Mamfe.
Mama Marie explained to her neighbor how the son who just joined the military and still in training was taken to Mamfe for the first time to fight some “vandals.” She said when the young boy and his colleagues arrived Mamfe, it was something different as their hierarchy had concealed the truth from them. “My son called to inform me that most of his colleagues have been killed and every day they are being killed or wounded,” Mama Marie said.
She went on to lament that, “the boy is weak and afraid and wants to go but he does not know anybody, every day the war is getting worst and I would prefer my son to stay here with me in the shop rather than die in Mamfe.” Mama Marie was disappointed when her neighbor and friend told her that she is not from Manyu and has no reliable person in that area who can help the son to run.
In the meantime, many of such stories have been coming up especially from francophone families informed by social media activists who have been debunking government’s claim that just about 15 soldiers have been killed so far. Sometimes these activists go as far as publishing the names and photos of those who have been killed but unannounced by government media. Moreover, with frequent distress calls from children and family heads from the battle field, families are beginning to get really nervous.