By Soulemanu Buba
Promoters of inter-urban transport agencies in the North West Regional capital, Bamenda, have unanimously agreed to continue their activities as usual after halting work on Tuesday following an alleged ban on some agencies by Ambazonia separatist fighters.
In a declaration that circulated on Tuesday and bearing the names of eight inter-urban transport agencies, the transporters frowned at those who were trying to thwart their activities and urged them to stay away from their agencies, buses and passengers.
Last week, messages circulated on Facebook and other social media platforms that Ambazonia separatists had banned seven inter-urban transport agencies from circulating. The reason for the said ban was not disclosed.
Tuesday, September 19, was a bad day for people who intended to travel to and fro the city of Bamenda, as all transport agencies grounded their vehicles in solidarity with those that had been “banned”.
“We here warn strongly authors and pepetrators of these diabolic acts to stay away from our agencies, buses passengers, etc,” stated the transporters in the joint release on Tuesday.
They indicated that they were also ready to continue transporting people and goods “without any fear from whosoever the author of the above publication of the shut down is”.
They further stated that, “We took into consideration the population of Bamenda, taxi men, buyam sellams, bike riders and others whose lifestyles, in one way or the other, are connected to our services.” The transporters called on the population to stand in solidarity with them to fight against any ban on their activities.
They also called on travellers to feel free to book travel tickets at their agencies as from 7am on Wednesday.
Population Welcomes Decision With Mixed Feelings
Bamenda denizens received news about the transporters’ decision to resume activities with mixed feelings. Some lauded the bravery of the transporters while others said it is still unsafe to use the “banned” transport agencies.
Speaking to MMI, Donald N. said he now feels relieved by the transporters’ pledge to continue operations.
The resident of Yaounde had been wondering how he was going to travel back to resume work after spending the weekend in Bamenda.
“I was to travel back on Tuesday only to realize buses were grounded. Thank God my boss is an understanding person. When I called he said I should stay back and observe. I am very happy that finally I can travel,” he said.
Another denizen of Bamenda thinks it is still unsafe for people to travel in the agencies which have been “banned”.
“It’s still dangerous to just jump in to bus and starts travelling. Let’s take some time to observe and be sure and not be excited. We are in a war situation and anything can happen,” he said.
Information about the ban on transport agencies was first circulated days ago by a separatist fighter who identified himself as “Commissioner Willy”. He advanced no reason for the ban.