Letter to commander ebube

Sammy Oke Akombi

Dear Commander,

On 10th February 2019, you rudely kidnapped me verbally. You may be wondering how someone could be kidnapped verbally. Let me explain. On that fateful day I was lying helplessly on a hospital bed and then in a very rude manner, your call came. It was an unfamiliar number and so understandably I could not pick it up. You insisted until I thought it could be someone in distress. I requested my wife who had come to attend to me in the hospital to take the call and pass it on to me.

Without the necessary civilities at the beginning of a phone call, you arrogantly asked why I had not read your messages. I was dumbfounded and so could not say anything. So you ordered me to go to my message box where you had lined up three messages. In the first one, you introduced yourself as the “Commanding Officer of the Mountain Lions of Fako,” a fierce unit of the “Ambazonian Defense Forces” and then you went on to state the purpose of your message: urgent request for a motorbike to help you carry out deadly missions.  Before I could read all the messages, your call came through again demanding that I act immediately.

My wife got panicky, wondering at what to cope with, my helplessness on a hospital bed or the threats from an unknown caller? Switching off the phone would not make sense as we were expecting friendlier calls from people who know us and we know them. But your menacing call could not give us any respite. The messages poured in, in their numbers. One of them promised me death by being roasted alive and another to kill my entire family if I did not comply with your request.  This is how I felt verbally kidnapped and the only way for a release was to comply with the request you had made – buy you a motorbike in order for you to carry out deadly missions. Physically and mentally weak my wife prevailed over me and we complied with your demands in cash in the hope that you would release me.

On 11th February the day after you had received the ransom, the nation rose up with the sad news that the District Hospital of Kumba had been set aflame, driving my thoughts to my aunt who had been hospitalized there for close to two months. It did not take me another five minutes to receive the news that she was one of the four victims who had been burnt to ashes in the fire. My grief overwhelmed my pain and for the rest of the day, my illness meant nothing to me. On 13th February your menacing calls and messages resumed and I thought I should explain my state of mind and health to you hoping you would understand. Unfortunately, it did not make any sense and the harassment persisted. I resolved to complain to the security agents at my own peril but the response was indifference. In one of your messages, you said you were fighting in order for me and my children to have a fatherland. In this regard, my contribution was imperative.

This message reminded me of an earlier call from someone I assume is your boss because he called himself General Satan. He too had asked for my financial contribution, saying that he and his boys were suffering in the bushes for our fatherland. And also another Commander like you whose name is Virus had promised beheading the Chief of my village if the elite of the village did not send their financial support for the struggle. I would like to observe that you work on assumptions. How would you on your own start a struggle and assume that everyone else must be part of that struggle. I and many others, who are terrorized by you and your likes: Generals Satan, Scorpion, Tiger and Commander Virus, do not believe in your struggle for a fatherland because God in his infinite mercy had already given us one. He did not give life and land to us humans so that we should fight and kill one another for it. There is no denying that we are His creation and like the good Father that He is, His intentions are that we live together in love and peace while respecting and helping one another. Your persistent harassment of my family has taken the calm and peace that we require.

You call yourself Commander Ebube but you are faceless. There’s nothing worse than constant threats from a faceless entity. This is happening not only to me and my family but also to a large number of the population of Cameroon, including school children who have been out of classrooms for close to three years. Given the ineffectiveness of security measures, the population has become so vulnerable that they act like zombies.  It is not only you who have taken advantage of this but also bandits and corrupt individuals. In case your financial taps have run dry, I would like to advise that you rather make demands for assistance from those who had convinced you to take up arms against your God-given fatherland. A fatherland which you and I have always sworn by, whose worth, we say, no tongue can tell and have always pledged to win its welfare in toil, love and peace. If you Mr. Commander now talk of a different fatherland from the one we have always known and believed in then you are being hypocritical. Only hypocrites profess one thing and do the other.  I would like to let you know that Cameroon as a nation should together fight its battles. If any group of the whole has been dislocated in personality, it is our collective responsibility to put things right, whether Anglophone or Francophone. Our brief life on earth is to straighten things for others, not in sweat and blood.

Mr. Commander Ebube, I would rather be a freeman in my grave than be subjected to the threats you are currently meting out on me and my family. Tell General Satan and Commander Virus that a struggle worthy of sympathy and success cannot be led by viruses and Satans.

Best regards.

UB Journalism students want more freedom

By Atembeh Ngewung Lordfred

During the commemoration of this year’s World Press freedom Day, journalism students of the University of Buea, came out en masse, though still undergoing ethical training amidst many constraints, requesting for the freedom of the press, and expressing worries on the future of most young journalists.

In the midst of the Anglophone crisis, most journalists who have tempered sweeping out the truth, under the rock, have only ended up warming the bare floors of jail. As quoted by the University of Buea’s veteran lecturer, Divine Bisong, on World Press Freedom Day, “the press is free but not free,” most students have remained wanting on the definition of “freedom.”

Brandishing placards, some of which read: “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, Journalism is not a crime and our Liberty depends on the Freedom of the Press”, students and lecturers of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Buea, raised their voices against the intimidation most journalists face in Cameroon, in carrying out their duties.

According to the 2019 World Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders, Cameroon is ranked 131st out of 180 countries sampled across the world.  Apart from the oppression of the press, Cameroon has been noted for gross human rights violations, by many international organizations, especially during the current Anglophone crisis.

According to Ngala Carine, a final year student of the University of Buea, the Freedom of the press should be inviolate. Some other students noted that, the intimidation of practising journalists in Cameroon is a call for concern for those who are still in journalism schools, as they marched on campus, calling for freedom of speech.

While this year’s Press Freedom Day was focused on: “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in times of Disinformation,” many journalists still remain behind bars. Others have tilted their pens when reporting sensitive news stories, for fear of intimidation and violation of their rights.

Super divine power

By Winston LEBGA

After several years of being gypped by the ruling elite, the governed, this side of eternity where the Mungo meanders have begun seeing clearly that this is indeed a dystopian society. Take the young men and women for example, many keep dreaming dreams and the job market is not for the meek. So, those who are connected to power brokers who can pull the strings of some puppet in the corridors of power are the chosen ones.

They are the ones who get admission into what is considered the choice professional schools or get the available civil service jobs. But, how many care about professional ethics, and how many show compassion? They seem to have discovered the social media, and would flash their smart phones at any moment to capture a scene with only their uproarious party in mind.

Who cares whether they are taking a snapshot of a rape victim groaning in the throes of agony or videotaping a murder scene, a surgical intervention or an accident? Imagine nurses in a hospital filming a patient who happens to be a student who had allegedly been stabbed by a classmate and who later on passed away. Who recruited such nincompoops whose real qualification for the job is who they know and not what they know? And who can blame the worms for digesting the s**t?

       Remember, the Bohemian likes to hang around the gossipy unemployed bellicose and belligerent youth who are full of bogus dreams of becoming billionaires before 2035, so that they can spend their billions in an industrialized country called Cameroon. Dream! Dream! Dream! Over several drinks the gregarious Bohemian exchanged gossip and memories and wicked pleasantries to avoid being considered an interloper. One of the young women, popularly called ‘Bullet’ for her sharp tongue started talking about what she called the might of people power and the right to speak truth to power.

          ‘African peoples are no longer dormant, See?’

            ‘What’s that supposed to mean?’  D. O inquired. He dropped out of school in his final year of a degree programme in History saying there was no hope for him in dystopia. So, his peers fondly called him Uni D.O short for University dropout or simply D.O. To the group it was a term of endearment.

               ‘I’ll give you a few examples to buttress my point’

                 ‘I’m all ears’

                  ‘Well, many years ago the peoples would silently bear their pain as the leaders shamelessly flaunted ill-gotten wealth, turning the constitution into a doormat on which they could wipe off their messy stuff that got stuck to their rubber soles…’

                    ‘Yeah, Tunisia chased away Ben Ali.’ D.O agreed.

                     ‘Zimbabwe’s army caged Mugabe and now people power in Algeria has forced out Bouteflika who has been in a vegetative state for quite some time now…’ Bullet continued.

                        ‘That’s absolute rubbish, things are under control here, and the situation is improving.’ O.T interjected. They called him O. T because he is said to be regularly off topic whenever the bellicose crowd indulged their passion for quarrelling by embarking on heated discussions.

                     After listening to the rantings of the leaders of tomorrow about Algeria, Tunisia, Zimbabwe and about people power and speaking truth to power to the point of throwing punches, I the Bohemian of Abakwa born of the sea goddess and the sun god on the last day of the month, by the shores of the Atlantic in the land of the proud people this day declare: even in the tangled web of local politics, we must understand that when the people are in one accord, no rogue government no matter how ruthless can beat them to submission. It’s time for the rapacious ringleaders in suits and agbada to put the roses back in the cheeks of the fatherland. And lest I forget brethren, do not minimize the power of the people. And, seemingly intractable problems can be solved when someone else looks at them and for, here on earth, people power is in actuality the super divine power.

Governor’s ‘marching order’ divides chiefs

When he barked out the “marching order” some two weeks back, Southwest Governor Okalia Bilai Bernard may not have imagined for a split second that fiat was going to kick up much controversy with most of the chiefs kicking back in anger. But they did, and told him in no mistaken terms that he had gone a bit too far, crossed the red (royal) line if you will.

Then the Buea Mayor whom Bilai had instructed in the full view of television cameras to prepare propaganda placards for the May 20 event sought to water down the gravity of what from all indications was an administrative goof and a traditional taboo committed by the governor. The mayor said the governor was misunderstood; that enemies and unpatriotic dissidents living in Buea and Yaounde were, in a manner of speaking, making mountains out of molehills.

The mayor’s rebuff, posted on social media was full of invectives. He made snide remarks about hungry chiefs who were no longer benefiting from surreptitious land deals; others who had cowardly fled Fako in the face of a rampaging militia and who, as a consequence could not even defend their subjects from the hideouts where they had run out of easy cash.

Undaunted, the chiefs, through the President of the Southwest Chief’s Conference, insisted by way of a communiqué which he published online, that Mr. Bilai had offended, desecrated the chieftaincy institution by reducing their Royal Majesties to “marching schoolboys.” On account of the governor’s audacious posturing, he asked for a boycott of May 20 activities by all chiefs as a mark of protest. He had support from many of his peers. The Divisional Officer, DO, for Buea sought to douse the raging fire ignited by the rather flippant governor but was told by certain chiefs and social media enthusiasts that he was fishing in unauthorized waters, more or less.

Some people even suggested that the populations should stay at home in support of their traditional rulers whom the governor had set out to treat with scorn and disdain.

May 20 is inching closer and despite reminders from other enlightened and influential chiefs that the governor’s bluff be called, there is still uncertainty as to whether the governor’s “marching orders” would be obeyed by sundry chiefs. The chiefs most irked by Okalia’s audacity have been stating that the governor would logically have ordered top government brass like Prime Minister Dion Ngute, and the centenarian, Nfon Victor Mukete to show up on the marching groung on May 20, pick up their own placards and lead by example. Failing, they would all be stripped of their chieftaincy crowns and other paraphernalia.

 As recently as two days ago, His Royal Majesty Dr. Robert Esuka Endeley, Paramount chief designate for Buea issued a communiqué that clearly stated that the chiefs were duty bound to come out on May 20 as a mark of patriotism and respect for the state.

In a terse message which he posted on face book he said inter alia:

“The Paramount chief designate of Buea HRM Dr. Robert Esuka Endeley is by this press release calling on all  the chiefs and population of the chiefdom of Buea to no heed to calls to boycott National Day Celebrations in Buea.

“He then calls on them to show proof of patriotism and loyalty to the state and Republican institutions that are upheld by the constitution of this our beloved country, Cameroon.

“Contrary to divergent views expressed by various individuals in their respective capacities, concerning the celebration of this year’s National Day in the Southwest Region, We, of this chiefdom value and stand on the supreme general interest shared by of (sic) the majority Cameroonians of goodwill.

“ Hence he calls all and sundry to massively turn out en masse for the 2019 edition of the National Day Celebrations on the 20th May to exercise their civil rights…”

Okalia Bilai has since showed neither resolve nor remorse for the apparent insult of their royal highnesses.

Cursing, bullying, shooting to kill our problems

By Charlie Ndi Chia

My baby sister, Jane-Frances was precocious. As a toddler she would often make our educated parents look kind of stupid. This was in Victoria, aka Limbe and the “trending” madmen in town were called “Mr. Peter Mr. Mbosowa” and “Commando” respectively. Each time she cried unnecessarily or simply got naughty, I, or any of her older siblings would be asked to play one or the other of the dreadful madmen. Then she would behave herself.

But one day, Jane-Frances decided that she had had enough of the bullying, scaring and cajolery. When no one least expected, Jane-Frances said: “oh oh! Everybody in this house takes me for a fool. Each time I cry, or refuse to eat, Charles, Adolf or Cyril is sent to that window to talk like “Commando. I have known all of those tricks all along, but simply played along…” Jane-Frances was barely two at the time. She’s a grown up woman today with kids and like other Cameroonians, she’s also a bully victim of the ruling class.

She, like teeming numbers of other ‘former’ Cameroonian youths has her interests subsumed by parochial interests. Like many of us before her, she was told, decades ago by the ruling cabal that she is a leader of the Cameroon of tomorrow. I do not know if Uncle Bob routinely reminded his starving compatriots that they were the leaders of tomorrow’s Zimbabwe. I doubt also if the likes of Gnasinbge Eyadema and Omar Bongo spun similar long yarns in Togo and Gabon. What I know for sure is that Omar El Bachir was this big bully who ruled and ruined Sudan and Sudanese. I know that at a point, parochial Western interests noticed that he had wasted too much of Sudan and Sudanese and decided that he should be sentenced by the International Court of Justice. I know too that Sudanese didn’t wait for the Yankees to yank Bachir off the Sudanese state house. They actually kicked his butt while he was still threatening, bullying and jailing opponents. Need we talk of Algeria’s Bouteflika who had crawled back to childhood after many decades in the state house? Or the HIV/AIDS treating Yaya Jammeh, who was practically “Kamtoed” from the Gambian state house.

 Though they live in palaces, assured of being buried in gold plaited coffins, these so called leaders presume that they are secured. But they are surrounded by wretched people, living in squalor, lacking water, electricity, good roads and primary healthcare. Bandits, militias, kidnappers, unruly soldiers, emergency pastors and traditional healers are bred here and let loose to roam the place with intent. They get bullied by overlords who almost always forget that community interest is what easily guarantees their individual parochial interest.

But for sadists, hypocrites and other flimflam men, there is hardly any Cameroonian who is happy with the present state of affairs especially as obtains in the Northwest and Southwest Regions. What with hapless refugees crowding homes and scarce facilities on the flip side of the Mungo? It is trite knowledge that all the killings, cursing and tough talking hasn’t had any positive impact on Cameroonians. Not even the choreographed “living together” platitudes. What is pompously referred to as achievements is the tip of the iceberg.

True, if the polity was working and the people are genuinely happy, there would be no need for the current shooting war. Instead, the war budget would be spent on roads, water, electricity and affordable healthcare across the board. But what do we have? Massive corruption, the anti-corruption CONAC notwithstanding simply multiplying, huge infrastructural deficits typified in power outages and lack of potable water worsening. Most of Buea and Bamenda, to name but these two towns still depend on springs and other doubtful sources for drinking water. But official speeches supply millions of gallons of water across the entire nation daily.

Need we talk of unemployment, mass poverty and despair ravaging the populace. Is someone seeing how the CDC is dying off with no one really caring! Is someone taking note of the insecurity that has taken a dangerous dimension with local administrators, including governors regularly dressing like war front generals?

Agreed, the state has as responsibility to apprehend and prosecute criminals as demanded by natural justice and the law. But what do we have here? Regular soldiers and militias are arresting, killing almost at random, with some victims facing various kinds of torture and ransoms before being set free. Elsewhere, amnesty has been granted in the course of, or after minor or major conflicts to end wars, resolve a domestic social problem… Amnesty has been adopted by governments when they believe that having true peace and bringing deviants into compliance with reasonable laws are more beneficial than punishment to end a conflict or facilitate reconciliation after a conflict.

Last line…

I go back to my little sister. Jane-Frances is a euphemism for those who fear but understand that madness may mean behaving stupidly or dangerously, but that the sane are, every now and again obliged to reason with the mad if they must cross certain bridges. That when the appropriate time comes, madmen must submit themselves to the psychiatrist or be consigned to a mental asylum…

Cheers, and let’s keep suffering and smiling!   

May 20, CDC and the rest of us

May 20 is Cameroon’s National Day. The day was begotten of a 1972 referendum. Then, the nation’s identity changed from ‘Federal Republic of Cameroon’ to ‘United Republic of Cameroon.’ Controversially, on February 4, 1984, “United” was abruptly peeled from the name. It was seen by most people of English speaking expression as a socio-cultural yarn and political short circuit.

Many felt that having stripped the corporate entity of its “United” garment, it was but logical and prudent to bury May 20, whose symbolism had contentiously fallen on all fours and rather adopt a legalistic, nay, realistic National Day acceptable to all and sundry.  Like it or not, this political stunt, considered by most English speaking Cameroonians to have been surreptitiously executed was bad news hiding in the shadows, biding its time, waiting and watching. The bubble had to burst at one point or the other.

For decades, sweet smooth propaganda, propped by a political balancing act ensured that the boat wasn’t rocked. Today, however, lullabies and pacifiers don’t seem to be a la mode in governance any longer. Teeming masses across the board, but especially of English speaking expression are saying that for far too long, those purporting to govern Cameroon have all along been preying on the flock rather than feeding the flock as it were. This is reflected in the current gruesome war in the Northwest and Southwest Regions and the incarceration of Professor Maurice Kamto and others in the Kondengui maximum security prison.

Lest we forget, the dumb resort to shooting with the intent of instantly killing every little ‘uprising’ was a dastardly act that ought not to have been even contemplated. The dictates of common sense and prudence have proven in most circumstance that dialoguing with a view to solving problems is far easier, less costly, and less primitive than screaming at and shelling each other. Though they be guarded and protected by sharpshooters, those who have the power to declare war still end up living like rat moles, sleeping with one eye closed and having bigger nightmares than the wretched of the earth that often constitute the cannon fodder and collateral damage especially in avoidable situations.

The de jure National Day, aka May 20, is once more around the corner. As often, millions of man hours are being frittered preparing to celebrate the Day in question. The security situation in the country is spiraling down, with billions being poured into shooting at each other, into killing, building enmity and suffering as opposed to talking and laughing as one people with a common destiny. While the ordinary Cameroonian, especially of English speaking expression is pining away, scurrying like squirrels in the bushes and losing any hope of living, big money and ideas are thrown into a security contraption. The regular army is drawing Cameroonian blood, burning, looting and extorting. Separatist militias are maiming, kidnapping for ransom, burning and generally terrorizing. The common man is crumbling under the cruel weight of these two monstrous forces, with each one of them purporting to be out to “protect the people.”

Elsewhere, both solicited and unsolicited do-gooders are pouring more volatile fuel on the inferno. A Regional governor is pompously ordering traditional chiefs, some of who rank higher than him on the administrative ladder to march with placards on May 20 or be dethroned with ignominy. He actually ordered a mayor to commit public funds to this folly of a project.

On the other hand, there has been a “serve you right” conspiratorial silence on the destruction, especially of the Cameroon Development Corporation, CDC. This agro-industrial giant has more or less, been allowed to crumble, the plaintive cry and entreaties from its management notwithstanding. Its over 20,000 workers are marooned, some of them with amputated limbs to show for a war that they did not declare. The gun and the bullet, threats and tough talk from members of the ruling cabal continue to rule the roost. Take note that elsewhere in Edea, media reports of government’s chivalrous acts of hastening to pour billions of tax money to cushion the effects of a reckless train accident makes headline news in state controlled media.

One would have imagined that with the aura surrounding products of ENAM, most of who sit atop the civil service, “Yaounde would not just be breathing for the rest of Cameroon to live.” Under their super watch, the civil service should have been a viable institution of policy formulation and effective implementation. That they would work assiduously to bring back the CDC from the brink of the precipice, boost the hope and productivity of the workers of this corporation and PAMOL instead of constituting a cacophony of cheerleaders to sing the nation’s leader to slumber.

While feasting and showing off fire power on May 20, it would also be prudent for those in charge to pause and ponder; to ask themselves if they have truly fulfilled the fundamental responsibility of governance, which is to protect the life and property of the citizen. Does this government place any more than convenient premium on human life and property? If so, what has it done concretely, to protect the CDC from the madness of separatist militias? What has it done by way of silencing the guns and effectively inviting everyone else to the round table of dialogue?  

Royal handshake, burnt Kumbo, Shisong ‘Cardiac arrest’

 On May 29, 1971, former President Ahmadou Ahidjo was in Kumbo, capital of Bui Division of the Northwest Region.  In the course of the visit, and in total submission to royalty and the traditions of the Bui people, the then head of state approached HRH Sehm Mbinglo almost with the sacerdotal humility of someone about to partake of the Lord’s Supper. Ahidjo prostrated for the seated fon’s reluctant handshake. In a manner of speaking, the mountain had gone to Mohammed.

Bui Division in general and Kumbo in particular are in the news again, 48 years later, for gory acts of human rights violation.  Unconfirmed accounts indicate that some 750 houses have been razed to the ground, allegedly by regular soldiers fighting Ambazonia militias.  Scores of infrastructures are also said to have been torched very close to the Cardiac Centre in Shisong, next door to Kumbo. People in Shisong in particular and the proprietors and other stakeholders of the FCFA 4 billion centre are living in trepidation. They fear that whatever befell other structures might eventually consume the mega health project. Eyewitness accounts indicate that in some cases of blatant arson, people, especially the old and feeble have been burnt alive in their homes.

88 year old widow, Regina Dulase we are told, would have been history when the burning and looting initially started in November of 2018, but for a kind soldier who prevailed on his colleague to spare the old woman’s life. One of the soldiers had asked his superior in French: “Je mets le feu?” His superior asked him in return: “Tu n’a pas vu la vielle mere?” Translated: (Should I set the house on fire?” Haven’t you seen the old mother?”) However, her ancestral home wasn’t spared because the soldiers still proceeded to burn, loot and kill. Ma Regina saw her abode of over half a century set ablaze by baby soldiers whose parents were not even born when she started living in it.

She now lives with one of her children in Bamenda, having been traumatized to the extent of almost losing her mind. One of her grandchildren, Kinyuy Randolph was not so lucky. Bongaba as she fondly calls him was taken before her eyes along with other youths to God knows where. Ma Regina is still to be convinced that Bongama is still alive. She insists to everyone that visits her on palpable proof else she’ll approach any soldier in the streets and ask that Bongaba be brought back. All assurances that when the dust settles it would be safe for the arrested kids to either be released or voluntarily return from wherever they are, have so far failed to soothe the old woman.

As already hinted, Ma Regina’s ordeal may just be the tip of the iceberg. Scores of Bui families have reportedly been felled by soldiers’ bullets, some have joined the Amba separatist militias, others, still, have been arrested and incarcerated incommunicado or have been kidnapped and wiped out by bandits in “Amba” garb.

The burnings, killings, and kidnappings are definitely in the past. However, a very big worry still lingers, giving many people sleepless nights. It is the first ever cardio-surgical centre in Central and West Africa, built in Shisong near Kumbo. The centre came about, thanks to an Italian charity organization, “Associazione bambini cardiopatici nel mondo” known in English as Cardiac Children of the World. It was integrated into the Saint Elizabeth Catholic General Hospital, Shisong and was doing wonderfully well in terms of catering to certain specific health needs of patients in and out of Cameroon before the war reared its ugly head.

In a telephone conversation with the Director of the centre, Rev. Sister Mary Aldrine told The Rambler how they (managers of the facility and other stakeholders) are on their knees daily, praying that something bad shouldn’t befall the hospital. Her fears are apparently reinforced by the fact that a general hospital was burnt to ashes in Kumba, in the Southwest Region just a few months ago.

“Our old, retired Sisters who don’t have much to do spend most of their day in the Chapel, praying for God’s grace,” she said. According to Sr. Mary, access by needy patients to the centre has been greatly hindered by the ongoing war.  Only in very desperate cases do patients and their caregivers risk it to the centre. She added that occasionally when the road blocks are taken off, patients take advantage and swiftly make it to the centre for medical attention.

Meanwhile, the goals of “Cardiac Children of the World” include creating autonomous centres and providing treatment in target countries. The Cameroon project was celebrated in 2001 in collaboration with the Tertiary Franciscan Sisters and the charity organization of Cuore Fretello. The project aim is to develop capacities for the diagnosis and treatment of congenital and acquired heart diseases in Cameroon. Doctors, nurses and technicians have been trained in Italy as part of the project’s human capacity development plan.

The Shisong Cardiac Centre is said to have significantly reduced the need to evacuate cardiac patients from Cameroon to Italy since 2003. It is the only cardio-surgical centre in Central and West Africa equipped with ultra-modern technologies and prepared to offer a wide range of cardiology services including diagnoses and congenital heart defects, coronary artery disease, valvula heart disease and electrophysiology. Open heart surgeries are also performed at this centre which cost $800 million or FCFA 4 billion to set up.

The centre symbolically operated the first two patients on November 20, 2009. The operation was carried out by Dr. Giamberti and Dr. Charles Mvondo, a Cameroonian.

The Director of St Elizabeth Catholic General Hospital, Shisong Rev Sr. Mary Aldrine, told The Rambler with a measure of pride that when it comes to attending to patients at the facility, everybody is treated equally, without recourse to whether the one is a government soldier, an Ambazonian militia, a Cameroonian or foreigner. But she regrets that many patients that used to turn up with cardiac and other related issues from countries like Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea have greatly diminished, no thanks to the ongoing war.

The Rambler also found out that almost all the experts at the centre are Francophone Cameroonians from the Centre and South Regions. The Director said the war notwithstanding, many of them have stayed on to serve, adding that even those who opted to run to safety are still serving the centre in other parts of Cameroon.

Given the prayers, the negotiation, the physical output, goodwill  and finances that apparently went into the setting up of the Shisong Cardiac Centre, having it destroyed in the ongoing war might be tantamount to the only cardiac centre in the sub region having suffered from a cardiac arrest as it were…