By Ngala Hansel, Dec. 8 2016
Cameroon Journal, Bamenda – Bamenda was in an undeclared state of emergency December 8, following the brutality meted on unarmed civilians in the city by soldiers. A protest march to counter a strike staged by lawyers and teachers which has crippled courtrooms and schools in the region for 4 weeks and 2 weeks respectively, was to be staged in the town by bigwigs of the ruling CPDM, but was foiled when an irate mob showed up at the Commercial Avenue grandstand chanting,” No to government marginalization of Anglophones, no to police brutality and no to government in-accountability.”
The counter-protest was to be led by PM Yang and other top government officials, all of the CPDM party. The population went furious when Atanga Nji’s car was spotted in the convoy that was to start marching from Commercial Avenue and as they descended on the car, the bloody confrontation left some young people seriously injured and they later gave up the ghost.
Atanga Nji himself cheated death by a slight margin and was rushed off into another car that sped off.
Meanwhile, the march past which had been billed for 10:00 AM was later postponed to 1:00 PM over security concerns, but never finally held as angry youths resorted to guerrilla warfare tactics, using a giant catapult to fire pebbles at the trigger-happy soldiers who had left three of their own dead.
“This is too much” said an infuriated young man who spoke to The Cameroon Journal on the
basis of anonymity. “We are the ones who know how we are feeling and yet these people leave Yaounde to come here and tell us to shut up and sit quiet? Look at all our public schools, hospitals- they all have inscriptions in French” he cried.
“We don’t even have decent roads or anything for that matter. I am ready to fight to my very last drop of blood for justice,” the young man said.
Shops and all forms of business in Bamenda were grounded at press time and teargas could be heard as well as gunshots and smoke billowing from key streets as Bamenda residents swore
that Atanga Nji and his band of traitors will not stage any protest march in town under their watch.
At Veterinary Junction, youths took up vantage positions from where they threw rocks, sticks and whatever they could lay hands on, at the gun-toting soldiers who beat up anyone found on the streets mercilessly.
“I think we won after everything. We swore to Atanga Nji that they won’t stage any rally here
whatsoever. We are not even ready to dialogue with Yaounde for any reason anymore. We just want to be free,” said another young man as he brandished a cudgel of a branch.
“I don’t know what lies ahead but I hope that the government can give an ear to the cries of the people so that this wanton killing and brutality comes to an end. I have four kids all at home now. It’s really not safe for them and I have to monitor them all the time. I don’t want this to continue,” said a misty-eyed woman who gave us her name simply as Mercy.
As tensions brewed, the mob descended on the 3rd District Police Station at Metta Quarters and razed it to the ground.
It remains to be seen what government will say in the days ahead. President Biya has maintained stony silence and is rather doing everything to stifle the voices of dissenters.