23 October 2012

Cameroon: Yaounde - Corpse Spends 11 Years in Mortuary

The suspected mortal remains of Alo'o Mve have been lying in the cold rooms of the Jamot Hospital mortuary since December 2001. According to the Head of Mortuary attendants, Lucien Betchem, a family dispute arising from disagreement over the identification of a corpse at 3pm of December 12, 2001 led to a judicial imbroglio that left the corpse lying in the cold for eleven years.

It all started on November 11, 2001 when a corpse identified as that of one Alo'o Mve arrived at the Jamot Hospital morgue from the Djoungolo Presbyterian Hospital also in Yaounde. On December 12 2001, the family of Alo'o Mve was present at the mortuary for the corpse removal. However, a majority of the family claimed that the corpse presented to them was not that of Alo'o Mve. However, a minority in the family supported that the corpse presented was that of Alo'o Mve. A family dispute ensued. When the matter came before the Judicial Police, investigations started and several mortuary attendants were remanded in custody while all corpses in the morgue were taken out and displayed for identification. Alo'o Mve was not among. Investigations went through the Judicial Police, the National Gendarmerie and the State Counsel but the corpse was never found. So the rejected corpse baptised "Alo'o Mve" by the hospital authorities has since been kept, pending the unravelling of the mystery.

On his part, Lucien Betchem attempts an explanation to the mystery. "My predecessor carried out the inhumation of abandoned corpses in early December 2001. It can't be certain if he took the remains of Alo'o Mve as one of the abandoned corpses and later presented another corpse that was rejected by the family," he explained to Cameroon Tribune. "We cannot hand over the rejected corpse to municipal authorities without an authorisation from justice for somebody can come to us at any time to collect it," said Betchem. CT learnt that the present Director of the Jamot Hospital, Dr Yves Mathieu Zoa Nanga, has written to the Minister of Public Health, Andre Mama Fouda, for directives on how to solve the embarrassing palaver.

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