By Amindeh Blaise Atabong, November 22, 2016
Cameroon Journal, Yaounde – President Paul Biya is yet to directly intervene in the ongoing protest by Anglophone groupings – Common Law lawyers and Anglophone teachers’ trade unions.
But he made a public presentation for up to a minute in the English language, consoling victims who sustained injuries or died in the East Region after consuming ‘odontol’ – a homemade alcoholic drink.
The Governor of the East Region, Mvongo Gregoire, is quoted by state-run media, CRTV, as saying that the President has extended wishes of quick recovery to Francophones who gulped the toxic liquor as well as instructed they be treated for free.
Mvongo was speaking after the death toll rose to 27, with some 47 others under medical attention in health facilities in Mindourou, Doume and Abong-Bang.
Robert Mathurin Bidjang, East Regional Delegate of Public Health said the victims got knocked out after consuming the unrefined gin.
‘Odontol’ is an illicit booze produce from corn. The drink is said to be tremendously strong but quite cheap, and officials have always advised people to desist from it in the French speaking part of the country where the drink is most popular.
It is not the first time the Biya regime is ignoring the plight of Anglophones in the North West and South West Regions.
In 2011, when strugglingTole Tea workers embarked on a month-long sit down strike at the Regional Delegation of Labour and Social Security, over unpaid severance and other benefits, Yaounde authorities remained unperturbed. They instead went ahead, about the same time, paying benefits to Nsam fire disaster victims in Yaounde. The victims had gone to steal fuel following a derailment and collision of two tanker trains hauling fuel in 1998.