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‘Operation Stoning Vehicles’ Frustrates Kumba-Buea Road Re-opening 

*Passengers Charged FCFA 12,000 From Kumba To Buea
* But Gov’t Uses Military Might To Restore Circulation

By Maxcel Fokwen

A new twist is gaining ground along the Kumba-Buea Highway, which was blocked since last weekend with villagers in affected villages allegedly stoning vehicles attempting to ply the road, The Post has learnt.

A traveller, who attested to such developments in Ediki on condition of anonymity, told The Post that, he had opted to travel to Limbe through Bamenda.

“This is my fourth day in Kumba. I left Lagos-Nigeria since five days ago. I got to Kumba and I have been unable to go to Limbe. On Tuesday, June 19, I boarded a vehicle which tried to ply the blocked road, but villagers surfaced on the road at Ediki Village with stones,” the traveler narrated.

Our source further stated that before their vehicle, another car which forced its way through the angry villagers was attacked and the windscreen destroyed.

Asked if there was any reason for such attacks, our respondent said the villagers termed it “operation stoning”.
Besides Ediki, a similar outpour of villagers to the road across the once teeming highway has also been signalled.
The Post could not independently confirm findings suggesting that the villagers were using the opportunity to protest the destruction of houses and property in their villages owing to crossfire exchanges between the military and separatists.

Stranded Families Pray

In a last series of tours at travel agencies in Kumba early Wednesday, June 20, scores of families and business persons stranded had engaged in prayers for the military to succeed in opening the road.
A military contingent was spotted leaving the Buea Road Gendarme Station early Tuesday, June 19 probably to open the blocked road.

The contingent comprised armoured cars, caterpillars, tippers and other security vehicles. News of such military resolve to restore traffic is what the population looks forward to any time soon.
In the process of the long wait with most of those caught on transit spending the night in the open, some passengers have opted to chart new courses.

The Post spotted many early Wednesday bound for Bamenda through Mamfe. Some of those interviewed said they would alight at Bafoussam and Board vehicles headed for the Littoral and Southwest Regions.
Fares for the destinations have witnessed a slight increase. Passengers said they were charged between FCFA 6000 to FCFA 6500 from Kumba to Bamenda.

Those headed for Douala pay FCFA 12000 and those who are travelling to Limbe or Buea are charged FCFA 16,000.
A lady who said she left Nigeria bound for Limbe lamented over her ordeal. She quipped: ” If I had known the road was blocked when I was at Ekok I wouldn’t have bordered coming to Kumba. Now after four days of waiting I’m forced to drive back through Mamfe to Bamenda and back to Buea”.

In the face of the hard decisions, some still remained indifferent complaining of financial constraints.
Gov’t Uses Military Might To Restore Circulation

Before we went to press, on Wednesday, June 20, our security sources said they had finally succeeded to restore circulation on the highway. Going by him, they had attempted three times to do so but failed. He said the military during Wednesday’s campaign was ruthless as they were more determined to rescue Cameroonians who had been stocked at the various motor parks for close to a week.

Going by him, travellers on the highway were very elated and congratulated them for a job well done.

Flash Back

The new twist of villagers allegedly taking up stones along the Kumba –Buea Road axis is a strange development. At the close of April and in the Month of May this year, sporadic separatists’ incursions triggered a military response.
Consequently, hundreds of villagers especially in Ediki fled to Mbanga in the Littoral Region. Some had mustered the gumption to return home in the last couple of weeks.

However, having persons believed to be inhabitants of the same villages holding stones against vehicles plying the road is what has put observers in a tight corner of reasoning.