Mortuary secretly taking in curfew victims

The carnage inflicted on Anglophone Cameroon in the wake of curfews imposed on the Southwest and Northwest Regions to ensure hitch-free commemorations marking October 1, seems to be jarring Government and causing some of its functionaries to be wary about divulging information relating to death cases.

This frame of mind is exposed by the Director of the Bamenda Regional Hospital, Dr. Kinge Thompson’s inexplicable refusal to confirm three murdered persons being preserved at the hospital mortuary to the press, even as the veracity of the occurrence had been confirmed by a reliable source.

The three victims of troops brutality, Fidelis Numfor, Akwo Rene Mua and Donatus Azeh Nchiamukong (person living with a disability), were killed by live bullets of the military following recent manifestations in Bamenda. Fidelis Numfor was executed 100 metres from the Regional Hospital Mortuary, Akwo Rene Mua, was shot around Travelers neighborhood. He later died in the hospital, while Azeh Donatus, an amputee, was shot around his house in Menka, Mile 4 Nkwen. Eye witnesses say Donatus was shot about 2pm on October 1 but that his body was only dropped off at about midnight on October 2, at the mortuary gate by the forces of law and order. The sister to 27 year old Akwo Rene Mua, one of the victims, narrated how her elder brother was called up by a friend that same October 1, to go and watch the manifestations in Travelers.

“A friend of his came to our house and asked him to accompany him to Travelers to go and see how the boys were planning to march on that day. Forty five minutes after that, I received a call and the caller asked me to meet my brother at the Regional Hospital for he has been shot and taken there. I went there and saw my brother in a pool of blood and in pains. He looked at me and told me he was dying. He finally died in my arms. He is the lone brother, my sisters and I have. I am a Form Five student. We live together. He takes care of me through his hawking business. We are from Wum. I don’t know how I will start arranging his burial, when I have just FCFA 10,000 on me,” lamented Akwo Felicitas, sister to the victim.

Unaware that the three deaths had become public knowledge the Director of the Regional Hospital had told reporters on October 3 that no deaths had been registered by the hospital adding that even if that were the case, he had not yet been informed. He, however disclosed that some 14 cases of injuries were recorded between October 1 and 2, “although most of the victims had opted to be discharged rapidly.” He revealed the victims had expressed fear about the probability of being picked up from the hospital by security forces, although he claims it was against the ethics of his profession to let go a patient in critical condition. According to him the Government has been assisting victims since the crisis began by way of settling their hospital bills.

On the side of the killings, eight motor bikes in a parking lot around Travelers junction were burnt down by police operatives on mission to confront anyone attempting to march on October 1 in adherence to calls for restoration of the Southern Cameroons state. The forces used motor tyres to light the fire that consumed the motorbikes. One of the owners Nkwetche Vitalis, who had sought relative safety in Douala during the social tension in the Region was bitter. He wondered whether the forces of law and order were preventing violence or committing it instead. A human rights advocate, Nchang Michael Abongwa, Coordinator of the Evangelical Council for the NGO, High Commission for General Intervention condemned the atrocities being systematically committed by security forces in the English Speaking Regions. He said even if at all the population forcefully marched on that day, the military ought to have resorted to rubber bullets in bringing about so called order instead of the live bullets. He also condemned the fact of people abducted in relation to the manifestations and taken to Yaoundé.

By Jean Marie Ngong Song

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