By Tata Mbunwe
Sources have confirmed seven people, including the Divisional Officer, DO, and Mayor of Ekondo-Titi, Southwest region, were killed in an explosive attack on Wednesday, March 2.
The attack, reportedly mounted by separatist fighters, happened at about 11:30 am while DO Timothée Aboloa, and Mayor Kenneth Nanji were on an economic tour in the municipality.
Others killed in the explosive attack included CPDM section president for Ekondo-Titi, William Ebeku, bodyguard Adjutant AKONO, a driver and an officer.
Security sources say separatist fighters had buried six explosives on the drive way of the four-vehicle convoy, targeting the administrators.
They succeeded to detonate four, which severely hit the vehicle transporting the DO and the Mayor, knocking them out alongside their driver, body guard and the CPDM section president.
The explosives also hit a second vehicle in the convoy, killing an officer and wounding several other persons.
“The explosion was fatal for all occupants of the vehicle. The damage spread to the next vehicle killing a young officer and injuring several. For now, the death toll is 07 people,” a source said.
Unconfirmed reports also say the chief of Bekora village, where the attack reportedly occurred, was injured but had not been found yet.
The attack happened along the Ekondo Titi – Bekora road in Ndian Division. Images that surfaced on social media show people lying helplessly in a shattered vehicle while some other person lying on the ground, his clothes torn and covered with dust.
Images probably taken by military officers also show some of the locally made improvised explosive devices which were discovered when they had not yet been detonated.
“At the time of this explosion, heavy gunfire was heard in the brush nearby, confirming the thesis that secessionist fighters were responsible for this terrorist attack,” a source further said.
According to sources, “very significant material damage” was recorded and several persons injured in the attack are receiving treatment at the Limbe Regional Hospital, Fako, Southwest Region.
The attack has been condemned for targeting civilians. According to the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy for Africa, CHRDA, by targeting the DO and Mayor’s vehicle, the perpetrators, alleged to be separatist fighters, were targeting civilians.
“IEDs must not target civilians or civilian objects. Destroying the DO’s vehicle does not give you a military advantage, so the vehicle is not a military object,” CHRDA wrote on Facebook seven hours after the incident.
The attack puts again puts Ekondo-Titi on the spotlight just three months after a suspected separatist attack on a government bilingual school on November 24, 2021, killed four students and a teacher.