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2013: The Year Death Hit Hard 

By Ernest Sumelong — The year 2013 would be remembered for many eventful things in Cameroon, especially politics and the arrest of high profile government officials, but death dealt a merciless blow on many families. It would be impossible at the time of writing this piece to pen down the death toll in the country in 2013. However, Mr Death, the grim reaper, seems to have harvested some of the country’s finest minds and others in great numbers.

The North and the Southwest Region recorded the most casualties, unofficially speaking. The Post chronicled some of these sad events and now takes a retrospective look at some of those names (that would be familiar to you) and groups of people who slept eternally in 2013. Men of the legal profession will recall that Retired Justice Tiku Eyong Mbuagbaw signed off his earthly sojourn on June 12, 2013.

The death of Justice Mbuagbaw, a legal luminary in his own right, was to be a signpost to the calibre of people to journey beyond in the year just ended. While tears were yet to dry off the cheeks of the legal Department and the Anglophone community in general, Cornelius Patrick Ngamteh Vewessee, a Trade Union of generations, also succumbed to the ultimate Mr. Death. His death came barely three days after that of Justice Mbuagbaw. The Limbe based Trade Unionist kicked the bucket on January 15.

On March 14, inhabitants of Wondongo Village, a village on the foot of Mount Cameroon, witnessed the gruesome murder of Daniel Mbonde, allegedly by his son, Gabriel. The son reportedly beheaded his own father in their mountainside farm with the use of a machete.
It was still in 2013 that death snatched the eminent Professor of Biomedical Science, Martins Peter Ndoumbe. He answered the Lord’s call on May 14. His death certainly left a big vacuum in the University of Buea.

Earlier, Collins D. Pefok, lecturer of the Catholic University of Cameroon, passed on, on May 10.
The academia thus lost two big brains in four days. Death then left the school milieu and sent its searchlight in the football arena. Ace Indomitable Lions Midfielder, Louis Paul Mfede was its victim. The former Lions player of the 1980 and 1990 fame fell on June 10 in Yaounde.

The never satisfied Mr. Death went searching again and got hold of a woman this time around. Hon Rachel Lyonga aka Mami Buyamm Sellam didn’t resist the Lord’s call when it came on August 11, days to twin elections where she was already assured of another mandate in Parliament. The media recorded its fair share of losses. 2013 was a year when Cameroonians held their breath at the sudden death of the much loved radio personality and animator, Moise Bonteke, who gave up the ghost while doing physical exercises on May 10.

Ace Journalist, Martin Che would be recalled to have responded to nature’s eternal call as Christmas approached. Meanwhile, on Wednesday, September 4, Buea recorded one of the biggest losses in the history of the town, when 14 people perished in a ghastly accident along the Tiko-Douala road. The victims were mostly petty traders who were en route to Douala to buy their merchandise to sell in Muea Market on Thursday.

Barely a month later, the town of Tiko took its turn to mourn, when a score of workers of the Cameroon Development Corporation, CDC, died in another ghastly road accident. Pa Francis Yong, Founder of Yong Sports Academy and Proprietor of schools and a string of other businesses in the Northwest Region, practically closed the year when died on Monday, December 30.

The former Cameroon referee and business mogul died in a hospital in the United States. Apart from these individuals named above, the North Region recorded the highest mass death in 2013, with over 1000 people dying of malaria in the area. Buea too will not forget some 17 people who were systematically crushed on the President Biya Boulevard after the removal of the middle ridge on the road.

The above cited cases exclude the routine accidents that occur on the Douala-Yaounde road (who figures have not been mentioned here for want of adequate statistics) and the routine deaths in hospitals related to illnesses, especially HIV/AIDS. Besides Cameroon, death claimed three world figures; former British Premier, Margaret Thatcher, one of Africa’s finest writers, Chinua Achebe, and world iconic leader, Nelson Mandela.

First published in The Post print edition no 01493

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