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Gunfire, Burnings Wreak Rural Areas After Atanga Nji’s Urban Tour 

By Maxcel Fokwen

Paul Atanga Nji

Reports of long gunfire and burnings continue to put hundreds of people in rural Anglophone Cameroon in a fix, barely days after Territorial Administration Minister, Atanga Paul Nji, toured the two restive Anglophone Regions with a message of peace.

As Minister of Interior, some critics dismissed the hilarious reception which Atanga Nji got in parts of the Northwest and Southwest Regions as being far from the atmosphere in the interior localities of Anglophone Cameroon.

In the Northwest, the Minister demonstrated courage when he visited the restive Batibo Subdivision after holding meetings in Bamenda. In the Southwest Region, the MINAT boss stormed Buea and Kumba, addressed bikers, traditional chiefs, religious leaders, among others.

His critics hold that the results of the tour may not be holistic given that, in the Northwest, Atanga Nji, as Minister of Interior, would have touched down on areas such as Kumbo, Jakiri, parts of Donga Mantung, Boyo and Mezam with traces of suspected separatists’ presence.

It is same in the Southwest where the Interior Minister did not visit places such as Kwa Kwa, Bole, Mbonge, Ekondo Titi, Etam, Bangem , Ikiliwindi and parts of Manyu.

Konye In Gloom

Three days after Atanga Nji left Kumba, suspected separatists surfaced in Konye. Unconfirmed reports talk of military casualties. Thus, since the beginning of this week, Cameroon’s defence forces have been combing the subdivision.

In the face of these happenings, the population of Konye has fled. Hundreds of people are reported to be seeking refuge in the bushes, while a few others have traced their relatives to some urban areas.

In the face of the gunfire exchange between the military and separatists, houses are reported to have been reduced to ashes. Reports talk of such losses in villages such as Dikomie Bafaw. It remains unclear who set the houses ablaze.

Since the military reinforcement in Konye, relative calm has returned to the Subdivision, while the separatists are said to have been pushed back. Before now, travellers have narrated instances of how the separatists were making surprise control of identification documents.

More Villages Suffer Loses

Across Mbonge Subdivision, reports have emerged suggesting that some more villages have suffered from destruction of houses and property. There are indications of such happenings in areas such as Bakumba, Masaka, Ngwandi and others in Mbonge Subdivision.

Separatists’ activities in these zones have put the localities in the eye of the storm. The villagers have all fled into safety either in the bushes or with relatives.

Ngwandi, for instance, said to be the biggest Mbonge Village in terms of population, infrastructure and other forms of Government investment, is said to have lost its shape in the last few days.

In Bakumba, for instance, a structure hosting the integrated health centre went up in flames on March 30. What is left of the health structure now is only a toilet that was attached to it.

At the moment, it remains unclear those behind the burning, even as the population continues to grief the loss of property. Military operations across Mbonge Subdivision have been on for months to suppress separatist activities.

Military Save Woman In Labour

There is the story of a woman on whom military officers stumbled while in labour. Soldiers at the scene are said to have ferried the woman to a health facility in Kumba. The young woman is said to have delivered safely. A military official is reported to have paid all the hospital bills of the woman picked out of the forest.

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