Fear gripped residents of Kedjom Keku (Big Babanki), in the North West Region of Cameroon, on Sunday, September 17, after soldiers stormed the market and shot dead two young men.
A woman, who was at Big Babanki Market at the time of the incident said soldiers were alerted when the two armed men attempted to extort money from traders at the market. She said they were most likely Separatist fighters, who have, in the past, harassed and extorted huge sums of money from inhabitants of Big Babanki.
She said the military trapped the two men in the market and, upon being alerted, shot them and dumped their bodies around the Kedjom Keku palace.
“The two men killed are Separatist fighters,” our source added without revealing their identities.
Harassment From Both Sides
The recent killings came at a time when denizens of Kedjom Keku have been crying out against daily harassment and extortion by separatist fighters and Cameroonian military officers.
“Government forces are feeding fat on those without ID cards and transporters. People don’t feel at ease visiting the village because they are good at framing stories just to collect money for you,” said Gemoh, a resident of Big Babanki.
“They got a young man who just came in from Douala well beaten after accusing him of being a scammer supporting Amba fighters. This was after he refused to give them money. He only survived by the grace of God.”
Gemoh furthered that separatist fighters have also been milking people in the community; charging them to pay compulsory levies to support their cause.
More soldiers were deployed to the village in June, at the request of the traditional ruler, after separatist fighters kidnapped and tortured some elderly women.
On June 12, MMI reported how the separatists captured and molested over 30 elderly women in Kedjom Keku, and shot one in the leg after they rallied to denounce a compulsory tax the separatists had levied on the population.
The administration deployed more soldiers to the area after the incident, but they too have not made life any better for residents.
Sources told MMI that the presence of soldiers has caused many young people in Big Babanki to flee the village for fear of arbitrary arrests and summary killings meted out mostly to young men by the soldiers.
On June 20, The Guardian Post newspaper reported that soldiers were accused of killing at least six young persons in the community on June 16 and were carrying out raids that led to mass arrests.