One of the most visible aspects of the recently ended African Nations Championship, CHAN competition hosted by Cameroon, was security, which was particularly tightened in the conflict-hit South West region.
Limbe, one of the main towns of the region played host to Group D teams and games.
Beyond the town right to Buea, Muea and interior areas, locals heaved a sigh of relief as security agents could be seen covering almost the entire terrain.
Barely weeks after the close of the tournament, locals say insecurity has returned in some localities like before, leaving them at the mercy of separatist fighters whose word is law.
“Farmers are going through hell in the hands of Amba fighters in a farming area call Roma 4 and Mango on the outskirts of Muea” a local tells MMI.
Stating that he was recently a victim, a man said he was shot on the lap last week because he failed to pay the 10,000FCFA tax the separatists demand from all farmer.
“After paying the money, they will give you a piece paper called a pass. This money is being use to buy their marijuana and other drugs. That’s how they have been extorting money from poor farmers in these areas” he explains.
To him, famers had felt safe when the CHAN competition was going on because the military was positioned in some of the junctions leading to these farming areas.
“They (Ambas) went and hid during that period and now that the competition has ended, they have all come from thier hideouts and started harrasing poor farmers again” he adds.
It should be recalled that this is the fourth year running characterised by violence and gross human rights violations in Anglophone Cameroon.
Locals have often cried out against government forces and separatists, accusing them both of extortion, torture, kidnap, illegal arrests and detention, as well as rampant gunfights that have seen many innocent civilians killed, and others maimed.
With President Paul Biya and Separatist leaders at a deadlock, breakthrough seems to be a long time coming for the oppressed.