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Priest Recues Gendarme Officer From Ekona Mob 

By Basil K Mbuye

On Tuesday, January 17, a Rev. Father rescued a gendarme officer from an angry mob in Ekona, Fako Division, and sheltered him at the Pope John Paul II Parish in the same town.

Earlier in the morning of the second day of the ghost town, youths had blocked a portion of the road along the Kumba highway to traffic. This brought the gendarmes to the scene who arrested two youths, triggering a flaring up from the inhabitants.

As the populace became nervous for the relief of the arrested youths, the gendarmes fled for safety and abandoned one of their colleagues who fell in the hands of an angry mob.

The mob vented its fury on the gendarme as it demanded for the release of their mates in exchange for the gendarme officer. But for the intervention of the Rev. Father, the gendarme would have become history.

According to an eyewitness, the demonstration in Ekona started peacefully until the police arrested and tortured an old man at the Last Town quarter. This set off the boys of Last Town who got angry and descended on the forces of law and order.

The youths also burnt a gendarmerie truck at the notorious police checkpoint in Ekona as they continue to demand for the release of the arrested boys.

The situation escalated when the gendarmes were reinforced with about eight truckloads and several pickups of troops, and three water canons.

It was only in the afternoon that the gendarmes were able to take back their colleague and immediately rushed him to the hospital as he fought for his life.

In a bid to restore calm, the gendarmes and the police fired tear gas, destroyed doors and arrested some more youths.

Meanwhile, the tense atmosphere prevented the Governor of Southwest Region, Bernard Okalia Bilai, from making his way into Ekona.

Okalia was stuck at the police checkpoint with a truck of police officers guarding him.
At press time, the inhabitants of Ekona had vowed to continue until the arrested youths are set free.

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