Utam Margaret Ndiba, the Mayor of Ekondo Titi subdivision in the Ndian Division, South West Region of Cameroon, has castigated the local population for failing to collaborate with security forces. This assertion was made during a recent “peace” tour orchestrated by the Senior Divisional Officer of Ndian.
Expressing her concerns about the precarious security situation in the subdivision, Mayor Utam Margaret pointed accusatory fingers at the residents, holding them responsible for not reporting incidents and cooperating with the established security forces. In a meeting with the local population, she remarked, “How many reports have you passed over to the security forces to collaborate with them? To ensure that they know that what comes from you is something that, when they go for it, they will have the answer.”
On his part, the Senior Divisional Officer, Gilbert Guibai Baldena, urged the population to actively counter separatist fighters. He outlined specific measures, stating, “To terrorise terrorists is to speak with one voice, to put an end to terrorism, to enrol in vigilante groups. To say no to ghost town, to stop financing terrorism, to say no.”
Ironically, security and defence officials recently stated that the security situation is “improving” due to the support from the population. Colonel Onambele Louis, the most senior army official in the region, shared his perspective, asserting, “Now, the security situation is calm, and it’s improving. We are backing our population, who are giving us a lot of intel at this point. So the situation is improving,” during a joint security evaluation meeting chaired by Cameroon’s Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Rene Claude Meka.
Ekondo Titi Locals in a Conundrum
Ekondo Titi has faced numerous challenges since the onset of the Anglophone crisis in the North and South West Regions of Cameroon. For years, local residents have called for a lasting solution to the crisis that has claimed numerous lives in the subdivision.
However, they find themselves entangled in a dilemma as they navigate instructions from both the administration and separatist fighters. The local population, conscious of their safety, frequently becomes paralyzed by this conundrum even though the government expects cooperation with security forces, which has occasionally had tragic results.
The most recent unfortunate incident in the Ndian Division was the attack by separatist fighters at Pamol Plantations’ Lobe Estate on Sunday, September 17, 2023. Pamol’s management confirmed the attack, attributing it to “unknown armed men” in a release published on September 18 and signed by its General Manager, Mbile Tapea Solomon.