By Tata Mbunwe
The Senior Divisional Officer of Manyu, Viang Mekala, appears uncertain about the actual death toll from the gruesome attack that happened in Mamfe this morning.
In a press interview, he estimated that about 20 civilians died in the attack on civilians at Egbekaw village in the Manyu Divisional headquarters, Mamfe, in Cameroon’s South West Region.
Contradictory reports have also emerged regarding the casualty count, with some sources suggesting that the death toll may exceed 30 people.
Mr Viang Mekala also blamed Ambazonia separatist fighters for the devastating early morning attack that has sent shockwaves through the country. It happened on a day that marks President Paul Biya’s 41 years in power.
At least seven people were also injured and 10 houses burnt when armed men invaded the Egbekaw, a remote locality in Mamfe, at about 3:30 Monday, November 6.
Mr Viang said Egbekaw, where the attack occurred, was “one of the vulnerable quarters because it is close to the river and close to the bush”.
He furthered: “And the assessment we have just done shows that we have registered about 20 persons who have been killed and about 10 houses burnt. And injuries were also registered – something like seven persons who are in the hospital.
“We want to call on the population to remain calm and we want to give them assurance that the forces of law and order are in the field to calm the situation,” he said.
“So far, after the attack that began at about 4am this morning, 24 corpses have been identified. Some burnt beyond recognition,” said a source who was on the ground in Mamfe.
“Suspected separatist fighters attacked New Layout Egbekaw village in Mamfe just when the Minister of Special Duties at the Presidency entered Mamfe yesterday for the 41st anniversary celebration of the ascension onto power of President Paul Biya,” the source said.
While no separatist group has officially claimed responsibility for the attack, its timing and severity are bound to fuel concerns about the ongoing Anglophone Crisis and President Biya’s leadership in the country.
The gravity of this assault is further compounded by the fact that it coincided with President Paul Biya’s 41st year in office as the Head of State in Cameroon.
The Anglophone Crisis, a long-standing conflict in Cameroon between government forces and separatist groups in the English-speaking regions, has put immense pressure on President Biya’s administration.
Critics have vocally disapproved of his approach to the crisis, which has led to calls for secession and autonomy among English-speaking Cameroonians.
This tragic incident serves as a stark reminder of the escalating tensions in the region and the urgent need for a peaceful resolution to the Anglophone Crisis.
Mimi Mefo Info