By Tata Mbunwe
Some denizens of Bamenda II Subdivision paraded the municipality today with caskets of four youths killed by the Cameroon Military on Saturday, Jan. 24, maintaining that the youths were innocent of the military’s accusation.
The bodies of the four boys – whose names were gotten as Salle Saddam, Ngalim Aloysius, Nelly, and Brain, were removed from the mortuary on Thursday, January 28, from where they were paraded around the Municipality before being dispatched for burial.
The youths, who expressed bitterness about the killings, said two of the teenage youths were Form Five students of Government Bilingual High School Downtown, Bamenda, and had not been seen relating with separatist fighters.
In the emotional parade on Thursday, a crowd of mainly youths and women wailed as they displayed the victims’ images with men bearing the caskets of the teenagers going around the city uninterrupted.
Responding to outcry following the killings, military spokesperson, Cyrille Atonfack, said in a communiqué on Wednesday that the youths were part of a “terrorist” gang that was preparing to launch an offensive against a local police station.
“As military vehicles approached, these armed individuals, who were busy consuming hard drugs, were taken by surprise, and immediately opened fire on the elements of Defence Forces, who provided an energetic and appropriate response.
“The confrontation led to 04 terrorists neutralized, several others injured and on the run, while tens of M21 S and FAL type weapons were retrieved,” a statement from Military spokesperson, Cyrille Serge Atonfack, reads.
Some observers have refuted the government’s claims over the incident, drawing from several other incidents in Mautu and Akwaya in the Southwest, where youths were also killed under the pretext that they were involved in terrorist activities.
According to Moses Ngwanah, an advocate of justice and rule of law in Cameroon, the government should be more responsible to answer questions as to why youths would carry arms to become “terrorists.”
Youth Council Says Killing of Youths Is Backed By Selfish Desires
The Cameroon National Youth Council, CNYC, has expressed bitterness about the “deteriorating” and “mass” killing of youths in the Northwest and Southwest regions amid the on-going crisis.
In a Jan. 28 release signed by CNYC’s First Vice President, Princely Kindong, the council condemns the targeting of unarmed youths by both the Cameroon military and non-state armed groups in the English-speaking regions.
CNYC’s Vice President expresses worries about recent killings of youths in the Mautu and Akwaya communities of the Southwest region, and the killing of these four youths in Bamenda, adding that the “mass killing” of youths in these two regions is “deteriorating.”
“I strongly condemn all those who are inflicting pains and killing of youths. Notice has been made from the recent happenings that it is no more the question of the military against the Amba fighters, but the quest for selfish desires.”
He called on the military to be more professional in their operations to minimize casualties and advised youths to abstain from deviant behaviour that could endanger their lives and jeopardize the future.
The CNYC also stressed against kidnaps and female brutality, calling for an end to lockdowns in the English-speaking regions.