From Bamkika-ay and Romajay to Meluf, Kikaikom, To-oy, Nyaaro, Mbukui, the chase for pro-independence fighters by Cameroon’s defence forces has largely left frightful infernos and deaths of civilians at their wake.
The story of Meluf on Wednesday, 5 December 2018 was written in blood. Smoke rose as from a furnace. Many people succeeded to run away from the area. Many would one day return to meet only ruins where their homes once stood, as the soldiers are reported to have set about 15 homes to flames. One of the 7 people killed in Meluf got burned in one of the homes. Another of the 7 was mentally deranged, popularly known as “Biki”. The other was a sickling. None of the 7 were pro-independence fighters.
There were likewise unconfirmed reports of looting by soldiers in Meluf. Such hard-to-verify reports have been recurrent in and around Kumbo in the recent series of weeks.
The morning of Thursday, 6 December 2018 witnessed what had never happened before in Meluf: the few persons who were around to bury their dead scarcely had time to prepare coffins or dig individual graves to bury before running off to safety. That is how four were buried in a single grave. The others were taken to their (Catholic) Church stations for burial too.
They hurried away after the burial, as there were rumors that the state soldiers could be back. The said soldiers had turned their attention to other areas, though. Several houses are reported to have been burned down in the settlements of To-oy, Nyaaro and Mbukui. Unconfirmed reports say 2 pro-independence fighters were killed somewhere around Mbukui. About 19 houses were burned down by Cameroon’s defense forces in Kikiakom settlement.
Civilian casualties continue to increase in Kumbo and environs, days after the President of Cameroon created what some have seen as a spurious commission for disarmament and rehabilitation of Boko Haram fighters (North of the country) and pro-independence fighters (in the North West and South West Regions). Many persons are reported to have fled the areas to the bushes and other places.
The activities of the pro-independence fighters have tended to invite the defense forces, and these invitations are not being declined. It is mostly civilians that have been bearing the brunt. Cameroon’s defense forces have not been mitigating the pain inflicted on the population – an already disenfranchised people, simultaneously paying an incalculable price for road blocks that have been created by the pro-independence fighters for over 3 months.
With the seeming formula of Cameroonian soldiers bringing down homes and persons around areas where pro-independence fighters have either passed, operated or set up road blocks, Kumbo could soon be one huge ruin, with its people having been emptied either to the graves or to other areas.
Radio Evangelium – Kumbo