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12-Year-Old Hangs 

By Ernest Sumelong & Basil K. Mbuye

CameroonPostline.com — Inhabitants of Sandpit neighbourhood in Buea woke up to a gloomy morning, Friday, June 29, when they learnt that a 12-year old boy had hanged himself near a spring. According to reports, Rostan, as the lad was called, unusually left his home at around 8 am that fateful day alongside his younger sister, 7-year-old Amanda, to fetch water.

Rostan reportedly picked a cord along the way and, on reaching the spring, told his sister that he was going to hang himself. Shortly afterwards, Rotsan reportedly abandoned his bucket and went to a fallen try nearby and began tying the rope to one of its branches. Amanda is said to have been scared and rushed to inform their mother about Rotsan’s behaviour.

Amanda is said to have recounted to a woman what her brother was trying to do. The woman, whom The Post learnt lives near the spring, immediately rushed there to see what was happening, while Amanda proceeded to report the matter to her mother. However, upon reaching the spring, the woman found Rotsan dead, with a rope around his neck and tied to the tree branch.

Meanwhile, Rotsan’s mother was still threatening to give the boy the beating of his life when he returned for attempting such a joke in bad taste. An alarm was raised and inhabitants of the neighbourhood rushed to the scene only to be shocked by the gruesome scene.

The puzzle of the hanging is that both legs of the boy were safely on the ground, while his arms were on his sides like a soldier standing at attention. Nonetheless, his tongue was hanging outside his mouth, an indication of strangulation. “This cannot be suicide. A child cannot hang himself and his legs are on the ground. There should be a spiritual dimension to this incident,” a resident of the neighbourhood argued.

“The boy is well liked in the neighbourhood and you can hardly see him sad. Everybody likes him around here because he is always available when called to do something,” another said.
All kinds of insinuations were made, including the fact that the boy might have been killed mystically in the night and only tele-guided to commit the act.

Police and medical personnel of the Buea Regional Hospital Annex visited the scene and examined they corpse. They didn’t state whether it was murder or suicide. Rostan was buried that same day after a heated debate whether he should be interred around the spring following what some claimed was tradition.

The Quarter Head of the area argued strongly against it, insisting that the spring served like community water source and that the land belonged to somebody. He urged the father of the boy, a certain petty trader, to bury him on his own land.

First published in The Post print edition no. 01355

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