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‘Feymanism’ Intensifies On Eve Of School Re-opening 

By Guilio Ngoran*

Con activities, also known as feymanism or 419, are on the increase in Kumba especially on the eve of school reopening.

Alleged fraudsters often suffer from mob justice

Conmen have devised new ways of fleecing people of money. Most often their victims are usually female. They end up being raped if they cannot afford money. Recently, one Mami Catherine Ayuk from Mamfe was deprived of her FCFA 208,000 in Mulango Street, Fiango. The 40-year-old woman said the conman, a cyclist, told her that she had ill luck and she needed cleansing. She said, when they went for the supposed cleansing, the boy brandished a knife and forced her to surrender her money.

Another victim, a cocoa farmer, Mathias Esombe from Bole Bakundu, Mbonge Sub-division, was also duped of FCFA 350,000, recently. Esombe told The Post that, while he was entering the Kumba Main Market, two boys approached him and offered to sell a vehicle. He disclosed that the money he had was not enough to buy a vehicle and besides, he had come to buy books for his children.

But the conmen insisted and lured him to a Mercedes car, where they agreed on FCFA 350,000 for the vehicle. According to Esombe, the conmen gave him fake keys and disappeared with his money. Few minutes later, he said, the vehicle owner arrived, entered his car and was about to drive off when he (Esombe) shouted and called him a thief. He recounted that when a crowd gathered to listen to his story, it then dawned on him that conmen have duped him.

Meanwhile, a certain Margaret Ekue also lost FCFA 500,000 to conmen recently. She told The Post that her brother sent her money through a money transfer agency for the funeral of their father. According to her, when she collected it, she fell into the hands of conmen. The conmen promised to double the money, but later vamoosed with it, leaving her stranded. Ekue said she is yet to recover from the shock, as her late father is still lying in the mortuary and the conmen are nowhere to be found.

The Approaches Of Conmen

Some conmen in Kumba, who talked to The Post on anonymity, revealed that they use various ways to lure their victims either through taxis or motorcycles (popularly known as bendskins).
They said anyone who boards the cab, the supposed passenger starts behaving like a foreigner. This person might plead with the driver to deviate to another road because he is carrying several millions at the boot. This, according to him, might be seized by the police.
One of them added that, in other cases, the "foreigner" might plead with the driver to take him to a specific location which he claims not to know.

They said when they get there, the foreigner will open the "consignment box" which contains FCFA 10,000 and FCFA 5,000 bank notes which they have carefully arranged. Our source added that the money usually comprises of darkened counterfeit notes mixed with few genuine bank notes, which they place at the top, middle and bottom of the box or suitcase. They narrated that when their victims see this, with the greed to have much money, they return with more money to buy more chemicals which they claim comes from Mecca.The conmen said when they get this money, they promise to double and even triple it but sooner or later, they disappear from the spot.

Our informant added that, at other times, they use what they call "temple," a secret room decorated as a shrine.They said women most often fall prey to this type, because they (spiritualists) claim there is something in their stomach which makes them infertile. They explained that the room is designed in a manner that would allow the "spirits" to discuss with their victims.

Police Action

When The Post contacted the Kumba Central Police Station, they reported that they have seized several taxis and bikes from conmen, which they (conmen) use for their transactions. They said when these fraudsters are caught; they usually sign undertakings promising to repay the money to their victims.

The police also brandished fake bank notes which they have confiscated alongside other items the conmen used in their business. On why alleged conmen are often set free, our police source disclosed that their victims are usually shy to testify and as such they may not have justification for keeping them in custody. On his part, the Divisional Officer for Kumba I, Thomas Tambe Tabot, condemned this practice and said most cases are due to the victims’ greed for money.

He advised that in order to fight ‘feymanism’, people should avoid giving permissions to drivers to change their directions, whatsoever the condition. He said inhabitants should collaborate with the forces of law and order by exposing these conmen. The DO equally called on strangers to board only cabs with titles or names for easy identification.

(UB Journalism Student On Internship)

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