By Yerima Kini Nsom
An estimated crowd of 5,000 people marched through the Yaounde May 20 Boulevard on February 28, demonstrating anger against the atrocities of the terrorist group, Boko Haram, in the Far North Region.
A group known as “United For Cameroon Coalition” organised the demonstration to show support for the Cameroonian armed forces against Boko Haram. The demonstrators, who chanted the National Anthem in English and French, marched from the Yaounde Central Post Office Round-About through the May 20 Boulevard and thronged the round-about in front of the Prime Minister’s Office.
Many youths in the crowd, who seethed with rage, sang derogatory songs against Boko Haram, vowing that they will be crushed and eliminated. One of the Ministers who marched, Gregoire Owona of Labour and Social Security, joined the youth by shouting “Let’s crush Boko Haram, Let’s kick terrorism out of Cameroon”
Meanwhile, members of the United For Cameroon Coalition who are mostly journalists that have been covering the Boko Haram atrocities in the Far North, said they organised the march in the spirit of patriotism, to show support for the soldiers fighting the terrorists. One of them, Polycarpe Essomba, who spoke during the march, said their initiative stood tall above partisan dichotomy and other parochial interests because danger is looming over the entire nation. Another member of the group, Fonka Mutta, told The Post that the march was to show solidarity to people of the Far North who have been living in the heat of Boko Haram atrocities.
Some members of Government, including the Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defence, Alain Mebe Ngo’o; the Minister of Finance, Alamine Ousmane Mey; the Minister of Sports and Physical Education, Adoum Garoua; the Minister of Communication, Issa Tchiroma Bakari; the Minister of Territorial Administration, Rene Sadi, among others, joined the anti-Boko Haram march. Some musicians, including Longue Longue, were spotted in the irate crowd.
The Canadian High Commissioner to Cameroon, the Italian and French Ambassadors, Representative of the European Union, also took part in the march.
“By marching this morning, we are not only supporting our soldiers in the field, but we are also warning Boko Haram that we will crush them,” one of the demonstrators, Amadou Bello, told The Post.
One young female student, Aicha Youmdingouetmoun, said the atrocities of Boko Haram were intolerable because they were compromising the future of many youth in the Far North Region. She said over 100 schools have been closed down because of insecurity in the area.
”Our march today is one of the ways we can show to those who are at the forefront of the war that we are in solidarity with them. As civilians, there is nothing we can do, apart from boosting the morals of the soldiers at the war front. The thousands of people who came out at the May 20 Boulevard to march today is a moral and psychological booster to those on the battle field,” one youth, Elvis Ndahsi, remarked.
Many young people in crowd marched through street demonstrating anger as they charged for battle, wishing to have arms, to do teach Boko Haram a lesson in Fotokol and other places that are constantly attacked.
The Minister Delegate in charge of the Supreme State Audit, Henri Eyebe Ayissi, said the march should sound warning signals to Boko Haram that Cameroon will crush them. The secretary General at the Prime Minister’s Office, Louis Paul Motaze, lauded the march, saying the mobilisation was necessary, given that the nation is under threat.
The event largely remained apolitical. A few allegedly rented youths who tried to sing “Paul Biya and the CPDM” doxology, were ignored because no one chorused from the other end.
A few of the youths also carried placards with unfriendly messages against France. They shouted: “We don’t want France here, we don’t want France.” Despite the pledges of the French Foreign Minister that visited Cameroon last week, the youths were still claiming that France was not fully supporting the fight against Boko Haram.
Two members of the organisation committee of the march, Thierry Ngogang of STV and Parfait Siki of Reperes newspaper told The Post that they were surprised by the overwhelming crowd that turned out. They had programmed to start the march by 10.00am, but were surprised that by 8.10 am, an enthusiastic crowd had turned out.
Enter Bamboutous Chiefs With FCFA 22.75Million
The traditional rulers of Bamboutous Division in the West Region had earlier waded in by supporting the fight against terrorists group, with a sum of FCFA 22.75Million.
The Chiefs offered the cash donation to the Minister Delegate at the Presidency incharge of Defence, Alain Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo’o on February 27 in Yauonde. Handing over the money to Minister Mebe Ngo’o, the leader of the Chiefs, His Majesty Teihgni Detio, said it was their modest support to the fight against Boko Haram.
He said the money was a gesture which embodies the fact that they were in support of the fight against Boko Haram. He thanked Mebe Ngo’o for leading the army that is protecting Cameroon’s territorial integrity.
Taking the floor, the Secretary General of the Circle of Bamboutous Chiefs, said the money they offered emanated from a meeting they held in Mbouda with their son, Minister Nganou Djoumessi on February 18. He said the offer also indicated that the entire Bamboutous Division was behind the President of the Republic in the fight against Boko Haram.
Receiving the money from the chiefs, Mebe Ngo’o saluted the donation as a patriotic act. He said it was confirming that the Cameroonian people are behind their army in the fight against Boko Haram. The Minister promised to inform the President of the Republic about the support of the Bamboutous Chiefs. He said the fact that not even an inch of Cameroon’s territory has gone to Boko Haram is a pointer to the fact Cameroon was winning the war. The chiefs were accompanied by some elites of the Division including MP, Mathurin Wa.