12 November 2017

Cameroon: Attacks, Killing of Gendarmes - "Government Has Taken Full Responsibility to Restore Law and Order"

Following is the statement of the Minister of Communication, Issa Tchiroma Bakary during a press conference in Yaounde on November 10, 2017 on the aftermath of the attack and killing of Gendarmes in the North West and South West Regions.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, I am highly delighted to wish you a warm welcome to this press conference, to which I have invited you, that will dwell on three topical issues of major importance. Meanwhile, before getting further, allow me to first of all honour the presence here with me of His Excellency Joseph DION NGUTE, Minister Delegate to the Minister of External Relations, in charge of relations with the Commonwealth. I am also delighted to welcome two experts, Mrs BEKOLO, Regional Integration Director at MINEPAT, and Mr TAZOH, Sub-Director in charge of Central Africa at the Directorate of African Affairs at MINREX.

I am no longer presenting Colonel Didier BADJECK, Head of the Communication Division at MINDEF, who is already used to such meetings with the press whenever necessary. If you don't mind, we will first talk about the terrorist escalation notably in the North West and South West Regions. In this regard, as earlier announced in my press statement of Tuesday, November 7, 2017, the day before, that is to say, on November 6, 2017, where, around 8 a.m., a group of assailants made up of a dozen individuals armed with slingshots and machetes attempted to storm the Jakiri Technical High School in the Bui Division of the North West Region. The objective of this assault was to expel teachers and students from the school campus where classes were held, and to set the various school buildings ablaze. Cognizance of the situation, the Principal of the Technical High School immediately alerted the Defense and Security Forces posted nearby. The vigorous intervention of our forces allowed to defeat the criminal action of the assailants, who were forced to retreat into the nearby bush. It was during the fight to get hold of these criminals that Gendarme-major DJONLAY Bienvenu was ambushed and then cold-bloodedly executed by these criminals. His body was found a few minutes later, riddled with bullets, not far from the scene of events. The service weapon of the victim, AK 47 type, commonly called Kalashnikov, was nowhere to be found, and apparently carried away by the group of terrorists.

Gendarme-major Djonlay Bienvenu was on duty at the 51st Squadron in Bafoussam. He had just been transfered to reinforce the Jakiri Gendarmerie Brigade. In less than 48 hours later, precisely on the 7th of November 2017, at about 11 p.m., a second terrorist attack was perpetrated against a joint police and gendarmerie check-point along the road to Bafut, on the outskirt of the town of Bamenda. This time, it was a hooded individual, operating in gang, who opened fire on the check-point, hitting the "Maréchal de Logis-Chef" (Chief Warrant Officer), HINMA Dieudonné on the back, before disappearing in thin air. The Gendarmerie Non-commissioned Officer gave up the ghost a few minutes later while he was being rushed to the hospital of the vicinity. A federal brand 45 auto socket from a war ammunition was found at the crime scene. According to information from a reliable source, our Forces do not have this type of ammunition.

The identification procedure is currently underway. The Maréchal de Logis-Chef (Chief Warrant Officer), HINMA Dieudonné was on duty at the Kiki Gendarmerie Brigade in the Mbam and Inoubou Division of the Centre Region. Like his other comrades who died in Jakiri, he was also transferred to Bamenda on a reinforcement mission. A few hours later, on November 8, 2017, at around 2 a.m., the « élève gendarme » SALI David, commissioned to ensure the security of "Collège Saint-Michel" in the Bayélé neighborhood of Bamenda, was found dead and his Kalashnikov service weapon was carried away, including all the ammunition he had on him. The bullet that killed the « élève gendarme » SALI David is of the same type as that found at the crime scene of the Maréchal de Logis-Chef HINMA at the outskirt of the town of Bamenda. The « élève gendarme » SALI David was a trainee of the High Command of National Gendarmerie Schools and Training Centres, on normal assignment in Bamenda. In the early hours of November 8, 2017, at approximately 4:00 a.m., the check-point of «Takédja», located on the Kumbo-Nkambe axis, also subjected to an armed attack. Here, the heavy-handed response of the Forces on duty routed the assailants who had to turn back. On the night of the 9th-10th of November, the soldier YAYA Emmanuel serving with the 22nd motorized Infantry Battalion attached to the 21st Motorized Infantry Brigade Battalion was brutally murdered by another gang of terrorists.

The soldier and many of his fellow comrades were on guard on the bridge linking Cameroon to Nigeria around the locality of AKWEM just a stone throw from Mamfe town, in Manyu Division in the South West Region. His assailants took him unaware as he was attaining to nature's call in a nearby bush. In all, and as I speak, four members of the Defence and Security Forces on special assignment have been killed, fallen under the bullets of terrorists, who claim to belong to the secessionist movement known as the « Southern Cameroons Ambazonia Consortium United Front », abbreviated as SCACUF. These attacks have been duly claimed in a statement signed by this organization and made public.

Allow me to present the heartfelt condolences of the Head of State, His Excellency Paul BIYA, to the bereaved families of the valiant soldiers of the Republic, who fought with their heads high in commissioned service, to defend the fundamental values ??of the entire nation. Allow me, on his distinguished behalf, to assure them that their sacrifice will not be in vain. In this regard, allow me to point out that during the security sweeps organized to find the terrorist killers, the Defense and Security Forces had to face the resistance of visibly suspicious individuals, who refused to succumb to the arrests. This gave way to scuffles that resulted in the death of two terrorists and five wounded among them.

To date, investigations conducted by the Defense and Security Forces have resulted in the arrest of six dangerous suspects, who, at the time of their arrest, were holders of 12 ammunitions of 7.62 millimeters in the Misaje locality, of the Donga Mantung Division of the North West Region, just as they were about to cross the border into a neighboring country. These individuals are: WIRNGO Flavian BONKIKEH 32-year-old; NDZELAMONYUY Livinus WIRASHY alias Livi, 26-year old; NJODZEKA Leonard SUILIY, alias ALIOU OUSSAM SYSTEM, 26-year old; WALA Ernest, 21-year old; NGORAN Livinus, alias Livi, 31-year old; and MDZEYUF Raoul alias AGÜERO, 23-year old. During their questioning at the North West Gendarmerie Legion in Bamenda, the suspects I just mentioned all admitted that they were the perpetrators of the Jakiri Technical High School attack on November 6, 2017. They also emphasized that it was Mr. NDZELAMONYUY Livinus WIRASHY alias Livi who assassinated the Gendarme-major DJONLAY Bienvenu.

Distinguished Journalists, Ladies and Gentlemen, This is therefore the prevailing situation in the North West and South West Regions. Given this situation, we are now all in agreement as we have always said and supported since the beginning of the violence in these two regions of our country, that we are indeed in faced with a terrorist enterprise, a relentless enemy of the Republic, driven by unlimited blind violence and murderous madness. I can clearly state without fear of contradiction, that very often, we have very been subjected to attacks by some probably naïve persons, who at one time, may have thought that the Government was mixing things up around a crisis which concerned mere corporatist or republican concerns raised by passive and peaceful protesters. The Government was then accused of demonizing the interlocutors in good faith, who only wanted to be listened to and invited on the table for dialogue As it is, the whole truth is now revealed. It is hence imposed on everyone. The secessionists have just declared war on the Republic, from the moment when attacks are perpetrated against the institutions responsible to ensure the protection of the population. It becomes even more disturbing when those positioned to ensure security, guarantee the smooth running and peaceful life of the nation, and protect the fundamentals values of this nation, are deliberately put to death. This has nothing to do whatsoever with the necessary expression of a view or an opinion, even if it is contrary to that of other citizens.

This view or opinion should rather help to promote the indispensable dialogue for the consolidation of a common future and to our key principle of togetherness. May these crooks of the Republic who have chosen the path to blood and gratuitous violence know that they will always find a united Cameroon, from North to South, and from East to West. Let them understand that, well-intentioned Cameroonians, wherever they may come from and whoever they are, be it English or French, Christians, Muslims, animists or even atheists are all firmly and strongly standing behind their Chief, His Excellency Paul BIYA, President of the Republic, and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. That notwithstanding, the Government is astonished by the silence showcased by NGOs defending human rights and freedoms, while repeated and blatant cases of armed subversion and violence of unmeasurable cruelty are being meted on our Defense and Security Forces. These abuses, however, continue to occur in the open and in the knowledge of everyone, without any reaction from these NGOs. This pregnant silence, is a clear indication of the complicity, and even the complacency of whistle-blowers, incapable of expressing the slightest compassion to the bereaved families of the slaughtered soldiers, who, without attacking anyone, died on duty, thus, victims of loyalty and patriotism. In any case, the Government is once again taking the national and international community as a witness, in the twist of event taking place in these two regions perpetrated by this terrorist and clearly anti-republican group. Let it be clear to everyone that the Government has already taken its full responsibility to restore law and order in these areas. This is a prerequisite and a non-negotiable imperative, on which no transaction will be authorized, when it comes to the sovereign duty incumbent upon any State, for the safety and protection of persons and property as well as the preservation of our territorial integrity.

Distinguished Journalists, Ladies and Gentlemen Allow me to now turn to a less dramatic but rather comforting issue, which concerns the promotion of our compatriots to a dignity of global greatness. In fact, Honorable Emilia MONJOWA LIFAKA, Member of Cameroon's National Assembly and Vice-President of the said Assembly, was elected on November 7, 2017, at the head of the prestigious Commonwealth Parliamentarians Association, abbreviated as CPA. In fact, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, which brings together Parliamentarians from all Commonwealth Member countries around the world, is a powerful tool for cooperation and the promotion of the values ??of democracy and governance among nations. Founded in 1911, this powerful inter-governmental organization recently held its General Assembly here in Yaoundé. Honorable Emilia MONJOWA LIFAKA was elected to her new responsibilities during the last CPA session held in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, with 107 votes, far ahead of her other two competitors who scored 70 votes and 15 votes respectively. In addition to the personal qualities and solid parliamentary experience of the honorable laureate, this election of a worthy daughter of our country is concrete translation of the strength and dynamism of Cameroonian diplomacy, and the strength of its democratically inclined institutions. The confidence that the parliamentary family of the Commonwealth has thus placed in our compatriot, also testifies of all the appreciation that this august organization brings to Cameroon in the respect of its values. I would like to point out that the candidacy of Honorable MONJOWA LIFAKA was presented and backed by the President of the Republic, His Excellency Paul BIYA himself.

The resolve expressed by the Head of State also aims to assert the biculturalism of our country through its membership of the Commonwealth and the Francophonie in the eyes of the world. Over the next three years, Cameroon will certainly, through the newly CPA President position, play a remarkable role both as Commonwealth spokesperson and flag bearer throughout the world. The other Cameroonian parliamentarian to be distinguished on the international scene is the Honorable Joseph OWONA KONO, also a member of Cameroon's National Assembly. During the 47th Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States and the Parliamentary recess of the ACP-European Union, held from 10 to 12 October 2017 in Brussels, Honorable Joseph OWONA KONO was twice elected for a two-year term as President of the ACP Parliamentary Assembly and Co-Chair of the ACP-European Union Parliamentary Assembly. On each occasion, the Cameroonian parliamentarian was elected unanimously. The importance of the functions that our compatriot will occupy over the next two years, both politically and economically, should be noted in view of the increased role of the European Parliament, the main interlocutor of the ACP Parliament. Here again, the Cameroonian Presidency will certainly be a major asset in the political dialogue with the European authorities. Moreso, and beyond the personal strengths of the new President who happens to be one of our compatriots, it is the influence and the interpersonal skills of Cameroonian diplomacy that must be commended, not only in Africa, but also in its action towards the entire European Union. Added to these diplomatic victories, there is the election of Mr. SHEY Jones as CEMAC Commissioner for Infrastructure, and that of Mr. EVANE Evariste, appointed Deputy-Director General of the Sub-Regional Multi Institute of Applied Technologies, Planning, and Evaluation of Projects.

I would like to present the wholehearted congratulations of the Government to our compatriots, including our best wishes for the prestigious mission just entrusted to them. One news item that has been in the headlines for a couple of weeks now is the complete implementation of free movement of people and good within the CEMAC Community by its member states. As you all know, the population of these states have been impatiently waiting for this gesture. This decision was unanimously arrived at during the Extraordinary Summit of October 31st 2017 in Ndjamena during which the CEMAC Head of States decided to fully implement the free movement of persons and goods within the CEMAC Sub-region. Already, during the 13th Ordinary Conference of Head of States and Governments that took place in Djibloho in Equatorial Guinea, the Head of States, while prescribing the full implementation of this measure, ordered for a circular Mission in all the Countries of the Sub-region to ensure the implementation of this measure. As the main provision for the follow-up of this decision, the Head of States, were also called upon to recover 1.7 billion Franc CFA from the Community Development Fund resources known in its French acronym as FODEC for the payment of INTERPOL for their mission to secure the borders of the community. This measure leads to the effective implementation of the free circulation of people and goods and a major step in the move to the integration of our Sub-region which is currently undergoing a major economic crisis. In the meantime, the movement of economic stakeholders is the main beneficiary of this dynamic integration and competitiveness which we so dearly need.

Thank you for your kind attention."



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