The December 1, 2019 attack in Bamenda, Mezam on the MA60 aircraft belonging to the Cameroon Airlines Corporation was indeed a clear a sign of escalating violence in the restive North West Region.
Dozens have been kidnapped, movements restricted and the University campus rendered unsafe for students.
Government action is said to be making things tougher for residents as they accuse the former of committing atrocities: “I am a student of the University of Bamenda. My bike was burnt by the military when I parked it near the school to attend lectures on Tuesday. They burnt three bikes – two lifan and one Sanya motorcycles to ashes,” one of the students narrated in frustration.
Bambui in Mezam Division has been a hot “operation theatre” of violence, attacks and gunbattles in the past months.
Assaults on students, commuters and residents have multiplied with cases of kidnappings and intense gunbattles reported on daily basis.
This Thursday December 5 2019, has been a difficult one, “as I write to you, I am indoors, no one dares go out, we have reports that houses have been set on fire,” a frightened local told Mimi Mefo from his hide out.
Today’s dilemma came after the abduction of close to ten students of Polytechnique Bamenda and lecturers in the town’s University.
Several abductions have also been reported in the past weeks with students scared to go for lessons.
“I doubt if I will be able to complete this academic year in the University. But I am not ready to come back next year to complete my decree programme unless calm is restored” a student hinted Mimi Mefo Info.
Security forces are also being accused of amplifying the degree of fear in the people.
As violence soars in Bambili and the entire Mezam Division, the SDO said no bike rider should be seen around the campus. He also issued a statement restricting movements and business activities around the University area. Simon Emile Mooh said the move “seeks to safeguard lives and properties”.
“Please kindly fight for us store , stationeries, bookshops and documentations owners in front of the campus… Where should we relocate to with the rampant insecurity?” A business owner wrote to MMI. The decision came after taxi drivers in a wave of protests, decried frequent extortion from security control units stationed on the road linking Bamenda, the main city, to Bambui.
For the first time since the start of the Anglophone crisis, a Cameroon airline passenger jet was attacked prior to landing in Bafut (Bambui), raising concerns over government’s constant reassurances that “the situation is under control”.
Attacks which could only occur in other far-off localities, now take place in major cities in the restive regions of Cameroon. An indication that the fight for the independent state of Ambazonia is taking a different dimension.
Opposition leaders in the West African nation say only a negotiated settlement would end the crisis while the international community is calling for genuine dialogue after a national dialogue failed to end waves of violence in the North West and South West regions of the country.
By: Mimi Mefo