Ghost Town Operations in NW, SW Turned Violent

Francophone students who flouted ghost town orders running home after being chased out of their classrooms in Limbe

By Mua Patrick, January 17, 2016

Cameroon Journal, Yaoundé – Hundreds of residents in some towns and cities across the North West and South West Regions yesterday took to the streets on day one of the Ghost Town operation despite calls by the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium for calm and non-violence.

In the seaside resort town of Limbe, where one of the fiercest confrontations between civilians and armed security forces took place, hundreds of irate youths stormed campuses and business premises and shut them down while others mounted road blocks at major junctions. Some traders who resorted to selling at the Limbe Main Market were chased away from their sheds by the mob.

An amateur video that went viral on social media yesterday, showed several Francophone students in Limbe being forced out of their classrooms by a mob wielding planks and other sharp objects. Students as young as ten were seen running helter-skelter and yelling for help.

Many of the protesters on whom security forces had opened fire were arrested and whisked off to detention facilities in Buea.

For several hours, the demonstrators in Limbe engaged in running battles with the anti-riot security operatives leading to sporadic arrests while some sustained injuries as grenades and water cannons were used to disperse the rampaging crowd.

“We hear it is red in Isokolo market. There is free for all fight. The police are shooting and teargasing people. We call on all people of Limbe to fall back please. Stay home and no violence,” posted a social media activist yesterday.

Over in the North West, violent confrontations were also reported in parts of the Region to include Ndop, Njinikom and Bali.

In Ndop, hundreds of enraged youths marched on the streets wielding fresh tree branches, shutting down businesses, public offices and schools. The youths who chanted liberation songs also mounted road blocks interrupting traffic for hours.

In Njinikom, Boyo Division, the angry mob, besides interrupting movement into and out of the Division, also shut down markets and shops along the main streets.

Jean Marie Ngong Song a local reporter, reported that the town of Njinikom was virtually transformed into a battle ground.

“The Anglophone tussle today has witnessed an open confrontation between the youths and the military from Bamenda. A military action is going on now as security forces continue to teargas the main town of Njinikom, Wombong Down Town,” he reported in a Facebook post.

Elsewhere in the South West and North West Regions, there was relative calm as most locals stayed home in respect of the call by the Consortium.

In Bamenda, where violent clashes were reported during the January 9 Ghost Town operation, yesterday was less so. Fewer cars and persons could be spotted on the streets while campuses remained closed across the City. It was a similar scenario in Wum, Mbengwi and Santa as most of the inhabitants simply stayed home.




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