By Tata Mbunwe
Family members of Bessem Ayuk, a young woman who was found dead and already decomposing in her hostel room on Monday have laid to rest her body at a public cemetry in Buea.
She was buried about 6:15 pm the same day at a public cemetry at Street 2, Great Soppo Buea, in a quiet funeral witnessed by relatives and neighbours.
Her father, cousins, aunts and other relatives who were present at the Great semetery said it was difficult to swallow the bitter pill of burying her same day after hearing of her death.
Bessem, as she was popularly known, is believed to have died at least one week ago alone in her room, but was only found Monday, February 21, when her body was fast decomposing.
“Getting up this morning, the scent in the house was too much. We could not bear it. So we started searching for where the scent was coming from and all of a sudden we saw flies coming from that door. And from there we had to get to the Quarter Head and from there to the police… The police broke the door and met her dead inside her room,” a neighbour recounted.
Another neighbor who woke up to the news said: “It was very shocking. I burst out in tears and I even vomited because the scent was so strong. I was shocking news and devastating to all of us. It’s not a good sign either. So we are not happy all of us.”
While she battled with death and succumbed to it alone, nobody knew her whereabouts – neither family members nor her friends.
Even the neighbours thought she had travelled and most of them last saw her more than a week ago. “I saw her about a week ago, a week and some days, that’s when I saw her last. After that I travelled and I came back yesterday,” a neighbor said.
Another neighbor reiterated: “I last saw her two weeks ago but she was just standing at the balcony and I was hurrying to school that morning so I saw her there.”
Bessem Ayuk is said to have been a business person selling some goods at the market, after dropping from school some time ago.
Having been a “very calm and friendly” person, Neighbours say they were devastated after learning she died in that manner. They were surprised she could have died alone, despite being outgoing, social and friendly.
“She has always been a very loving person all through her live. She smiles, if she has challenges she tells people. But this time around it’s challenging because even the family member who was here informed us she travelled one month ago, meanwhile I saw her one week and some days ago with other neighbours,” one of the neighbours said.
At Malingo and the vicinity where the incident happened, many people have been scared to come close to the hostel, given the stench that has engulfed the vicinity for days now.
However, some of those living there say they have no plan of evacuating the hostel because that will not change what has happened.
“What has happened has happened. Actually we don’t need to evacuate because someone has died. We just have this human mindset to feel somehow… though some will want to leave but I don’t think it’s the best option because it has already happened,” said Ebai Joseph, a neighbor to the deceased.
Police officers had been at the scene for investigations and some of the residents of the hostel alongside some close family members will be further questioned in the days to determine what probably caused her death.
Medics from the Buea Regional Hospital were also at the scene to establish medical evidence and ensure the body was disinfected and carried away safely.