Bamenda denizens defy SDO’s order, stage mass peaceful protest

NEWS 26 Sep 2017
Bamenda denizens defy SDO’s order, stage mass peaceful protest

By WIFAH JENNYHANS NDE
It was a dark-clouded Friday September 22 in the city of Bamenda as the population from young to old, men like women, sane and insane flooded the streets to protest for the liberation of Southern Cameroons in defiance to the Senior Divisional Officer’s, SDO’s prefectural order of September 20 banning all public meetings and manifestations from September 21 to October 3, 2017.
From City Chemist Roundabout, Hospital Roundabout, through all major streets and quarters in the city of Bamenda, the crowds marched with peace plants, palm branches and other leaves, chanting songs of freedom with placards and ‘Amzonian’ flags to palaces of the seven villages that make up Bamenda.
At some palace the protesters hoisted the ‘Ambazonian’ flags, some placed them on trees brandishing their messages which some read as: “Release all Anglophone detainees unconditionally” “liberate Ambaland” “No to violation of our rights”.

Protesters overrun Nso palace

Protesters overrun Nso palace

With the “takumbeng women” leading the parades, the thousands paraded the streets alongside security officers who accompanied them interestingly, peacefully until about 2pm when some calm returned to the neighbourhoods.
In the rain that didn’t sympathize with the course, the determined ‘soldiers’ marched on with all shops along major streets closed, taxis and bike riders halted, “it was an all for one, one for all union” as the protesters described it.
The only visa for circulation for those with private cars and bikes was the use of peace plants as a sign of solidarity to the course or at least be in possession of the “Ambazonian” flag or dress in the “Ambazonian T-shirt” that was in circulation.
At the Bamenda Up-station, the marchers who were marching up from Nkwen met with resistance from security forces who stopped them from accessing that military and regional headquarters of the Northwest.
As protesters continued, pouring libation and invoking spirits of their ‘gods’, they could be heard saying: “We don’t want Dos, SDOs and no colonial governor in our land anymore” “We recognize only the fons as our legitimate rulers and they must listen to us”.
While the civilians demonstrated in the streets, the military helicopters kept hovering in the air. The SUN was hinted that the helicopter patrols were taking images of key actors for imminent arrests which are expected in no distant time.
At about 2pm when there was relative calm in Bamenda, neither death nor confrontation was recorded until about 5:30pm when a group of individuals marched to the central police station at Old town to claim bikes that had been seized and confiscated. This landed them into an open confrontation with the security forces. As the civilians threw stones at them, they retaliated by tear-gasing and gunshot which got 40-year-old Babadi, a tailor in the head killing him instantly.
The protest which was not limited to the city of Bamenda but the entire Northwest recorded two deaths; two in Santa, two in Jakari, bringing to total, 5 deaths in the Northwest.
While Northwest governor, Adolph Lele Lafrique has urged the population of Northwest to stay calm, the SDO, Songa Piere Rene has made no statement yet but it is hoped that he shall react by Monday considering the fact that protest culminated in the weekend.
At Batibo where the protesters marched to the residence of Hon Joseph Mbah Ndam, the experienced politician tactfully but vaguely told the protesters that: “I shall not return to Yaounde…until I see where we are heading to”. On his part, the Divisional Officer, DO for Santa, Viang Mekala joined the protesters which quelled temperaments. In a telephone chat with The SUN, the Honorable Member of Parliament simply said “It is as you see it on social media” and no further explanation.

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