Collaboration between the population and security officers helped in the arrest of terrorists who wreaked havoc in the localities even as investigations continue to nap fleeing brigands.
Gone are the days when the over 17,000 inhabitants of Bafia and Munyenge localities in Muyuka Sub division of the South West Region endured torture of all sorts from people with whom they lived peacefully yesterday.
They can today go about their normal daily activities with little or no fear that they would be arrested, taken to a class in Government Primary School Bafia where each machete stroke will be equivalent to FCFA 10,000.
The people can today rear their goats, pigs and fowls without any fear that terrorists would brutalise and seize them for their breakfast, lunch or supper as it was the case some weeks back. "At last, we are free," they would tell any visitor who cared to listen to their yesterday's ordeal.
In effect, the people were subjected to inhumane treatment by one of theirs, a dreaded General Armstrong, who like others in some localities of the two English-speaking regions of the country, hijacked the teachers' and lawyers' strikes to instil the reign of terror.
Villagers told Cameroon Tribune in the huge cocoa-production basin last week that they went through almost two unforgettable months in the hands of General Armstrong and his men.
"Teachers who attempted to go to school were caught, beaten, told to carry their hands on their heads and sing, "there is no school, there is no school," Justus Kedze, a hawker in the locality said.
The apologists of the secessionist's propaganda being spread across the country took advantage of the enclaved nature of the locality and the absence of permanent security forces to dictate the pace of life to the helpless population.
They blocked licenced cocoa buyers from accessing the localities, fixed the prices of cocoa and unilaterally decided how much to curtail from each kilogramme of cocoa sold.
They were the ones collecting taxes, brutalising people in the market and deciding how much each pays. They set up their cell in a classroom of Government School Bafia, in an elevated area where they had a better view of the village?
Villagers narrated to CT that each person arrested and taken to the cell chose a machete with which to be beaten and each machete lash equalled FCFA 10,000. Should the battered citizen not have the money on him or her, the family was alerted to bring the money, else, he or she would not be released.
Vehicles carrying cocoa within, the population said, were each subjected to a FCFA 50,000 tax to the dangerous General Armstrong and his men.
According to Colonel Jules Ndjeuha, South West Gendarmerie Legion Commander, it needed tact and utmost collaboration of the population to put an end to the reign of terror imposed on the people. The collaboration paid off and General Armstrong and 18 of his companions in crime are today behind bars.
But the fear of reprisals on the peace-loving population remains those who are on the run. Reason why most, if not all of them we spoke with, advocated proximity between security officers and the people. Disenclaving the areas and providing them with basic social amenities shouldn't be the least of actions to be undertaken.