After what felt like forever for the population of Buea, the military has finally reacted to the shooting to death of a pupil on her way to school by a Gendarme officer today.
In like fashion, the defense ministry spokesperson, Navy Captain Cyrille Serge Atonfack has once again done the proverbial nose licking, painting a false reality.
In his release on the incident, written in approximate English as though translated from another language, he justified the Gendarme’s action, accusing the driver of the car in which the little girl was shot, of attempting to escape from a checkpoint.
“Refusing to comply, the driver continued in his momentum by accelerating to escape…, ” read a portion of the release, adding that the driver was later stopped by the two gendarmes on duty.
“After the usual identification procedures, an inexplicable verbal brawl ensued between the two Gendarmes and the driver who was firmly opposed to the search of his vehicle to the point of initiating a new escape manoeuvre,” stated the head of the military communication unit.
Describing the next move of one of the gendarmes as inappropriate, “… unsuited to circumstances and disproportionate to the irrelevant behavior of the driver,” he said the officer “in defiance of the sacrosanct principle of precaution, fired warning shots to immobilize the vehicle.”
The army official identified the pupil killed by the supposed “warning shots” as 5-year-old Caro Louise Ndialle.
“In a violent fury, the crowd pounced on the Gendarme who was the author of the shot, and lynched him to death,” he stated, adding “the Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defence deeply regrets this unfortunate incident and extends his sincere condolences to the bereaved family.”
He further promised an investigation immediately opened by the local administrative authorities and the Defence and Security Forces will shed more light on the incident.
The army’s statement, not the first of its kind in a similar fashion, left out key details of the incident, providing a skewed version of the original happening.
In addition to failing to make available the name of the now-deceased Gendarme who gunned down the little girl, he remained mute on what becomes of the other Gendarme(s) that were at the checkpoint when the incident.
The Minister Delegate’s condolence message also failed to hit home, as it did not specify to which of the bereaved families it was targeted.
Many have also questioned the sincerity of the promised investigations, as it adds to a stack of many others fashioned in a similar style to take off public opinion.
To date, victims of the February 14, 2020, massacre in Ngarbuh, Donga Mantung Division in the North West region perpetrated by soldiers are yet to get justice served. The same can be said for security officers who tortured Jean Fai, a native of Ndu still in the Donga Mantung division on February 11, 2021. Despite announcing punitive measures for the forces who beat the young man to near death, none of them has been named or punished to date.