Caught between assailants and bruised army

Unceasing and perilous gunshot exchanges between yet to be identified civilians and regular soldiers that more often than not leave casualties on both sides have kept the army on red alert in the Northwest Region since the beginning of the New Year.

Injured Gendarme rush to hospital

The last days of January witnessed several gunshots and civilian/military confrontations more than ever before across the Region.

In Batibo, assailants reportedly stormed the town in the early hours of Tuesday, January 23 fired gun shots in the air and paraded some parts of the town. In no time, the whole town was panic stricken as parents rushed home their kids with everybody running for safety. While gun shots were recorded, it could not be determined who was doing the shooting.

In Pinyin, throughout the week a joint control team of police and gendarmes invaded the locality shooting indiscriminately and breaking into homes. A group of unidentified men had stormed the village earlier, disrupted the market and caused schools to shutdown. The military responses have been reflected in heavy crackdowns that have left scores injured and two civilian deaths. Shootings took place in Fundong, Belo and Kumbo and each time it happened, reprisal actions came from the men in uniform

The worst scenario after Tadu in Kumbo was in Mbingo, Belo Sub-Division of Boyo. As early as 9am on Thursday, February 1, a gang of 11 unidentified men sent news that they were to attack Mbingo and in no time they came face to face with elements of the national Gendarmerie. In a gun battle that ensued, two gendarmes were butchered and abandoned by the assailants. They are reported to have hijacked an oncoming car and fled the scene. The wounded gendarmes where then evacuated into the Mbingo Hospital and two of them, male and female gave up the ghost. Reinforcement was immediately sent and news of their imminent presence sent villagers in Kedjom Keku, Mbingo and throughout Belo to scamper for safety in bushes knowing the barbarity that soldiers are wont to inflict on vicinities where their colleagues loss their lives. On the morning of February 2, law and orderelements mounted road blocks at Belo Three Corners and returned every passenger and car coming from Njinikom and Fundong. In some cases, windscreens were shattered, passengers burgled and some beaten. Scores of people were arrested and Promise Mesuh lost his life in the melee.

By Jean Marie Ngong Song

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