“… every Cameroonian must be an ambassador by being welcoming, polite and behaving reasonably”.
These were the words of Cameroon’s Territorial Administration Minister, Paul Atanga Nji, hours after soldiers went on the rampage at the Mbengwi road and other localities in Bamenda, razing down houses and shops while shooting indiscriminately at civilians.
The Minister, however, was not addressing the soldiers who orchestrated the perfectly planned chaos rammed down the throats of innocent civilians in the North West Region.
He was addressing the very citizens who are ironically being battered by the soldiers meant to keep the peace in the Anglophone regions as well as the entire nation.
Speaking at the last biannual governors’ conference for the year that was held today in Yaounde, the Minister placed emphasis on the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) set to hold in the coming weeks, calling for order.
“I insist each Cameroonian must be an ambassador because President Paul BIYA wants visitors who will come here to go back with the image of a big Cameroon and great citizens with wonderful infrastructure, all behind a great leader H.E. President Paul BIYA,” he stated.
Minister Atanga Nji addressing the ten regional Governors including that of the North West where last night’s carnage took place, carefully avoided making mention of the incident, once more ignoring the plight of the Anglophone population.
Till now, many victims of the arson are still counting their losses, with the lucky survivors preparing to sleep in the open for a second night.
Given the nature of today’s sitting, many had expected the minister and governors to address the situation. But as has been the case in previous instances, however, they turned a blind eye to the incident, as if to say the impending AFCON tournament is of more value than the many lives being lost on a daily basis.
Following yesterday’s incident, at least seven soldiers are believed to have been killed. Their colleagues, in turn, torched down multiple houses and gunned down at least three civilians, witnesses said.
The incident is just one of many confirming the deterioration of the situation in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions that began as peaceful protests and metamorphosed into an armed conflict that has left thousands dead.