At least one person was killed in Bagam village, West Region, on Thursday afternoon after officers opened fire on villagers who were opposing the installation of a new traditional ruler.
Reports indicate at least one villager lost their life, and several others sustained injuries during the confrontation.
The source of the unrest dates back to 2020, when the village’s traditional ruler, Fon Simo Tenkeu Nzossie Jean Marie, passed away.
Since then, two factions of kingmakers have been in dispute over the chieftaincy stool, intensifying the longstanding Bagam chieftaincy problem.
One faction has rallied behind Fon Tendop Nzossie Dieudonne, supported by the administration.
However, many of the villagers vehemently oppose his installation as the new Fon.
One of the factions of Kingmakers opted to select another candidate as the heir to the throne, further fueling the tensions within the community.
The situation escalated earlier in October when security forces arrested one of the chieftaincy contestants, Paul Biya Nzossie Mathurin Moyebe, accusing him of creating disorder at the Bagam Palace.
This move by the authorities triggered a protest from villagers, particularly elderly women who considered Mathurin Moyebe their legitimate heir.
They stormed the office of the Senior Divisional Officer (SDO) of Bamboutous in Mbouda, demanding his release and expressing their discontent with the government-backed Fon Tendop Nzossie Dieudonne.
Some of the elderly women undressed themselves at the SDO’s office, vehemently contesting the choice of Tendop Dieudonne as Fon.
Thursday’s clashes in Bagam highlight the deep-seated discontent among villagers regarding the ‘imposition’ of Fon Tendop Nzossie Dieudonne as their new chief.
The clash between opposing factions and the use of force by security forces have further intensified the longstanding chieftaincy crisis, leaving the community in mourning.
The government’s continued support for Fon Tendop Nzossie Dieudonne’s enthronement underscores the challenging path ahead in resolving the Bagam chieftaincy problem.