25 September 2017

Cameroon: Bamenda - Life Returns in Town

Photo: facebook
Riots in Limbe (file photo).

It was business as usual over the weekend after the Friday, September 22, 2017 demonstrations.

Issues of governance were central in peaceful protests that took some persons to the streets of Bamenda and neighbourhoods on Friday, September 22, 2017. The day was early to break for the protesters who defied Ordinances by the North West and Mezam administrations, prohibiting public manifestations.

The Bamenda Regional Hospital Roundabout, T. junction and Foncha Street Junction were take-off points for the people that soon stormed the streets in different directions. They moved to the palaces of Nkwen and Mankon and attempts to move towards the administrative area of Up Station were frustrated by the forces of law and Order . Carrying peace plants and chanting songs, the protesters featured placards with various messages. They raised concerns about living together in a Union which they claim is built on falsehood. Taxis and Commercial motorcycles on regular business activities were quick to retreat from the streets while shops remained shut the whole day. Security forces conspicuous at major junctions conducted themselves in a manner appreciated by all for professionalism. The whistle blowing protesters spent a good part of the day on the streets. The protests came on the heels of an explosion following the detonation of an improvised devise at the gateway into the Bamenda Regional hospital on September 21, 2017. Three policemen on duty suffered serious injuries from the explosion. The protests announced for September 22 were not to help matters and it was against this backdrop that North West Governor, Adolphe Lele Lafrique on the strength of Regional Order No 022 of September, 21, 2017 prohibited the movement of persons from one Division to the other in the region for 24 hours from Thursday September 21 at midnight to Friday September 22 at midnight. Meanwhile, in another Decision, the Mezam SDO, Songa René Pierre prohibited the movement of persons from 10 pm to 5 am up to October 3, 2017.

"Administrative And Security Measures Stepped Up"

North West Governor, Adolphe Lele Lafrique in an interview culled from CRTV

How is the situation in the North West Regions after the protest demonstrations?

"Calm has returned to the North West region and normal activities are on course after last Friday's social upheavals by some people who stirred disorder. On behalf of the government we condemn the incidents during which some casualties were registered with some Forces of Law and Order suffering injuries while some lost their property. In Batibo some school children were threatened and their property burnt and some looting took place. Some vandals also went to the Regional hospital and threatened a police officer on duty. It was reported to me that a corpse was taken to the Regional hospital on that day but we are still investigating the circumstances. We have set up an inquiry Commission to investigate the situation following the upheavals. How was the situation managed?

Before the demonstrations, administrative and Security measures were taken to prevent any disturbances of public order but despite some people, largely in the minority marched in the towns and villages of the region resulting in some acts of vandalism, looting and burning. Those on the streets were asking for freedom and the release of some people remanded in custody. I think you cannot be talking of freedom while behaving as agents of disorder characterized by acts of anarchy. That cannot be condoned and the Forces of Law and Order worked in a very professional way to maintain public order.

What are the measures taken to pre-empt future upheavals?

The majority of the population of the region is law abiding. The region has God fearing people and we hope they will work with traditional rulers, elite and the administrative authorities to continue activities without disorder. Security and administrative measures have been stepped up to help as we advice parents to continue to send their children to school. We advice them to continue to stand by peace. The Head of State reinstated it at the UN General Assembly that our focus is the human being and peace. The government is working towards lasting solutions for concerns raised by Teacher Trade Unions and Lawyers and some projects are being executed in the region to improve the living conditions of the population".

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