25 September 2017

Cameroon: Buea - Calm After Agitations

Road circulation, markets and shops regained activities in the weekend following street protests observed on September 22, 2017.

Calm has returned to Buea, capital city of the South West Region, following last Friday's upheaval with hundreds taking to the streets in protest marches. The Governor of the Region, Bernard Okalia Bilai, called for calm and asked parents to keep their children at home or at school preventing them from going to the streets to cause havoc.

The city of Buea, capital of the South West Region, awoke to a protestmarch Friday, September 22, 2017. The protesters trooped in from the Ekona end pulling the Muea participants. They were joined at Molyko with those from Mutengene gathering along their mates of Dibanda and Bolifamba. The protesters held fresh branches, leaves and placards calling for "freedom". The protesters swelled in numbers drawing curiosity from dwellers who lined up by roadsides to observe. The Divisional Officer for Buea, Kouam Wokam Paul, and the elements of the Police and the Gendarmerie were seen strategically positioned at Great Soppo apparently to contain the protesters and prevent escalations into the administrative quarters. Initially no physically violent acts were observed in the early hours of the day. But by mid-day, the protesters hauled stones on the main road from the entrance to Buea (Mile 17 Bus Station) to the Clerks Quarters on a close to 10- kilometre distance.

A vehicle was set on fire in front of the Bilingual Grammar School Molyko and a house at the Molyko Check Point was also put to flames. In the same vicinity, five cars parked in the yard of the residence of Ekema Patrick, Mayor of Buea, were crushed with stones. The glass windows and balcony of Ekema's house were also shattered with stones. The situation was equally tense elsewhere in Divisional Headquarters like Kumba, Menji, Mamfe, Limbe, and other hot spot areas like Ekona, Mutengene, Muyuka. Ekondo Titi and Mbonge. Protesters marched up to administrators in many areas, and reportedly started to down the national flag and hoist what they called the "ambazonia flag".

According to South West Governor, Bernard Okalia Bilai, the protesters attacked the Forces of Law and Order in many localities and even shot guns at the Forces in Mamfe. Prior to the Friday upheaval, Internet and WhatsAp messages had flooded phones and emails announcing doom for the day.

"Some Of The People Have Been Identified"

Bernard Okalia Bilai, Governor of the South West Region.

What is the situation in the South West Region after the upheavals?

The situation is under control. Early this friday morning in some areas groups of people came out marching towards the public services, Senior Divisional Offices, Divisional offices, Police and Gendarmerie Stations with the intention to carry out vandalism. They were threatening to remove the national flag and to host what they call flag as they were carrying pieces of cloth. They were so violent and they attacked the Forces of law and Order. They were throwing stones at the forces and administra tive authorities and it was even reported that they used guns in Mamfe and that they shot guns at the forces of law and order in Mamfe (capital of Manyu Division) wounding a Policeman. The forces are doing a wonderful job with a lot of professionalism to avoid incidents. We are still there following the situation. Some of the people have been identified and we are following up the situation.

What means are the agitators using?

Two days ago they threw explosives in the premises of schools in Limbe. The explosives destroyed parts of the walls of classrooms and the roof. There have been many attempts to burn classrooms but thanks to vigilante groups we have succeeded to avoid those disasters. But today (22 September) the situation is really worrying because we do not understand how young men, children some less than 10 years are in the streets. Where are their parents? That is why I am inviting the leaders and the population of the South West Region to take their responsibilities to keep their children either at home or in the classrooms where normally they are supposed to be. I call on the traditional rulers and the politicians to hold their population because the Administration will not continue to tolerate these provocations.

What is the situation in all the six Divisions of the Region?

There are agitations in the localities of Mamfe in particular, Kumba Ekona, and Buea. There were some agitations in some other areas like Ekondo Titi and Mbonge. But the localities I mentioned earlier are the main ones where people are agitating. All Manyu with Eyumujock and Mamfe. Tinto seems to be a bit quiet. We have received reports of Akwaya. The whole of Meme Division are agitating and the whole of Fako. Ndian seems to be calm except Ekondo Titi. There were some agitations in Alou in Lebialem.

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Cameroon

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