A radio technician, Tendong Julius Asah, is in the custody of elements of the 3rd Rapid Intervention Battalion. The radio technician of Foundation Radio Bamenda was picked up this morning at the mile 6 Mankon neighborhood during a raid by the forces.
His whereabouts have been traced to the Base of the 3rd Rapid Intervention Battalion in Bamenda.
“When we heard the noise at about 3 am this morning, we thought armed robberies had invaded the neighbourhood,, so we all rushed out of our houses to be one another’s keepers. Rather we saw soldiers who said we should keep calm,” one of the neighbours of Asah told MMI.
According to preliminary findings made by MMI, the soldiers said they were looking for a certain ‘Che’. However, speaking to locals none of them were able to identify the ‘Che’ the soldiers were looking for.
‘Che’ is a very common name within the North West Region of Cameroon and without more specifics, it can lead to cases of mistaken identity which can prove costly, within the context of the ongoing conflict.
The Management of Foundation Radio say they are working towards securing the release of Tendong who is still in the custody of the soldiers.
Not an isolated incident
Raids like this have been carried out in neighborhoods since the escalation of the now seven years armed conflict in the restive North West and South West regions of Cameroon, often with the intention to arrest persons believed to be affiliated with or who are armed separatists.
However, there are many instances where such raids have led to the killing of civilians as was the case of Ngarbuh, or the arrest of innocent journalists, such as Samuel Wazizi, who died in military custody four years ago.
A commission that investigated the Ngarbuh massacre determined that security forces and members of “local vigilance groups” conducted a reconnaissance mission in Ngarbuh, a locality in Cameroon’s North West Region, where they encountered and killed five armed separatists.
In the armed battle, thirteen civilians were slain. The military then attempted to conceal their actions by torching homes and submitting a false incident report. The commission identified a sergeant, a gendarme, and a soldier as the murderers, as well as a battalion commander who neglected to oversee the operation.