Four traditional rulers – Chief Fuaminkeng, Chief Fiance Aleh, Chief Fuajijong, and Chief Fuawehnsuoh were kidnapped in a village called Essoh-Attah in the South West Region, Lebialem Division yesterday. Two accounts have emerged on the situation.
According to the first account, the four chiefs were napped by the notorious Field Marshal yesterday. It is alleged that Field Marshal and his entourage of other separatist fighters, arrived in Essoh-Attah village about 3 am and moved from house to house, arresting the chiefs. The Chiefs were reportedly taken out of their homes to the village market square, where they were then shot and their corpses dumped in the Betuoh River.
According to this account, some inhabitants of the Essoh-Attah village think their execution might be linked to the fact that they recently applied to the Government to become First Class Chiefs. In addition, the chiefs went to Dschang to vote during the regional council elections, an election that was forbidden by the separatists.
It is said that some youth were part of those detained by the separatist fighters but though one youth was killed, the others are said to have been saved due to the timely arrival of the military who untied them. It is said that the separatist fighters intended to take the youth to the forest with them.
The reason why Field Marshall continues to harass the people of Essoh-Attah according to this source is a historical one. Lebialem is made of different villages and according to history which predates the German occupation, the people of Essoh-Attah have a strained relationship with people from Lebang, the village where the Field Marshal hails from. It is alleged that many chiefs from Lebang attended the regional council elections in Dschang but have not suffered the fate of those from Essoh-Attah. With this move from the Field Marshal, this source believes that this situation has now degenerated into an inter-tribal war, with Essoh-Attah indigenes vowing to denounce any movements of the Field Marshal whom they have long protected. The Field Marshall has also been accused of constantly harassing the people of Essoh-Attah, with his demands for ransom. This will not be the first time he has killed people from Essoh-Attah, according to them. They shared the below gruesome photos as evidence.
The Other Version
Following our previous report, a second account relating to the incident has emerged in which the source claims that BIR (the Rapid Intervention Battalion) summarily executed the chiefs. According to this source, a messenger was sent to the chiefs who were having a meeting session with other chiefs, warning them to run and hide as it was suspected that something terrible was to befall them. As shown in the photos above, this source claims that BIR tied them in that manner and it is claimed that the BIR arrived in a helicopter and stormed the meeting shooting wildly.
Why were these chiefs targeted?
According to this source, Field Marshal had appointed those chiefs to govern their areas like quarter heads and they were set up due to jealousy. The real chiefs are in exile due to the fighting and they viewed the newly appointed chiefs by Field Marshal as an overthrowing.
For now, MMI is working with more people on the ground to establish which version is indeed true. But one thing remains obvious, the execution of these chiefs has brought great grief to the people of Essoh-Attah village as they attest to fear permeating every layer of their lives with the presence of both separatist fighters and the military.
Military forces have reportedly invaded Essoh-Attah village in a bid to fish out the executioners. This could equally be particularly worrisome for the population as there have been disastrous outcomes on the population whenever the military undertakes such missions.