By Amina Hilda
The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon (PCC), Rt Rev Fonki Samuel, says over 50 were killed in the arson attack in Egbekaw, Mamfe, contradicting the Minister of Communication, who puts the casualties at 25.
The Moderator also blamed “armed terrorists” for the attack that sent shocking waves around the country on November 6, a day President Paul Biya was celebrating 41 years in power.
Ambazonia separatist fighters are reported to have attacked the victims around 3:30am, shot some and burnt others in their sleep.
While the death toll from the tragic event continues to fluctuate, the PCC Moderator says over 50 were killed.
Rev Fonki’s communique released Wednesday, November 8, is the latest of several outings condemning the heinous act.
“With a painful and troubled heart we extend our condolences to the families whose loved ones were brutally and inhumanely butchered in the arson attack in Egbekaw Mamfe by Armed Terrorists on Monday 6th November 2023, where more than 50 people were killed including women and children, and houses razed down,” the PCC Moderator wrote.
He extended condolences to “the families whose loved ones were brutally and inhumanely butchered in the arson attack…”
The prelate added: “With all firmness, we condemn this atrocity and repeat that human life is sacred with no one having the right to take the life of another”.
The release comes after an earlier statement from the Roman Catholic Bishop of Mamfe, who also strongly condemned the attack.
Among the victims were men, women and children. At least 10 houses also got burnt, according to the Senior Divisional Officer of Manyu, Viang Mekala.
Rev Fonki’s figure on the massacre is the highest that has so far been reported amid conflicting numbers.
Also, it sharply contradicts that of Cameroon’s Minister of Communication, Rene Emmanuel Sadi.
In a communiqué signed Tuesday, November 7, Minister Sadi placed the death toll at 25. This was after the Divisional Officer of Manyu said over 20 died in the attack.
“The preliminary death toll from this criminal and barbaric act is 25, that is, 19 men, 05 women and an 8-year-old child. Nine injured cases were registered, some of whom are in a critical condition, and admitted in hospitals of the said locality were they are receiving treatment,” said Minister Rene Sadi.
While the exact number of deaths remains uncertain, families of the deceased have remained inconsolable following Monday’s massacre.
The inability of government officials to establish the exact number of deaths has left a good number of Cameroonians wondering.
It is also worth noting that 72 hours on, the President of the Republic of Cameroon has clung to his decision to remain mute on the tragedy plaguing his country at the moment.
Separatist Leader Takes Responsibility
In the wake of condemnations and separatists’ denial of responsibility for the attack, Hong Kong-based separatist leader, Ngong Emmanuel, popularly called Capo Daniel, admitted separatists’ responsibility for the attack.
He said it was a revenge attack by fighters from Akwaya, one of the four Subdivisions in Manyu Division.
“What happened in Mamfe, in Egbekaw, is a revenge attack following the killing of two Ambazonia soldiers that took place sometime last week,” he said in a video posted on YouTube on Tuesday.
He also said perpetrators of the attack were members the Ambazonia Defence Forces of his former ally, Ayaba Cho Lucas.
Ayaba Cho, who firmly advocates for independence through violence, has denied that his forces carried out the attack.
His former spokesman, Capo Daniel, tells a different story.
“What happened, according to our soldiers who have provided this information, is that the Cameroon military ambushed two of our soldiers.
“The general, who is dead and one of his top lieutenants was killed and his dead body was carried and buried in Egbekaw by the Cameroon military.
“So this was a revenge attack. If you look at all the people who were killed these are people who are coming from Akwaya, who are now living in Egbekaw. That is what happened and that is what caused this atrocity,” Capo explained.
MMI has not conducted any independent findings on the Mamfe attack.
Mimi Mefo Info