By Moma Sandrine
One week after the Baba II residence of Ni John Fru Ndi, chairman of the opposition Social Democratic Front (SDF) party was burnt down; he decided to pay a visit to the village to see for himself the level of damage done. As the chairman drove into his compound in Baba II, he was grieved at what he had seen. His once beautiful house had been reduced to ashes in less than no time.
Upon his arrival, some inhabitants of Baba had assembled at his compound to sympathise with him for the loss he had incurred. After taking a tour round the building to see if anything had been left, the only recognizable remnants were teacups. All other things had been burnt down beyond recognition.
With heavy eyes, the chairman told the population that prior to the burning of his residence; he had visited the village on Saturday October 13 and returned the following day. According to him, he made that trip because of the series of complains he had received from the population about a group of boys (believed to be separatists fighters – amba boys) terrorising the area.
“I came here because for two months I had been having messages from Baba II that, ‘papa look, these people are harassing us and we will run out of the village. They are here stealing, beating people.’ They said Fru Ndi what are you doing? We are all dying. That Saturday I came down to the village for the burial of the former Mayor of Tubah. After the burial I was coming to the village to see the amba boys to find out what is their quarrel; if you are fighting because you want to restore Anglophones, you have to take care of them. If you are fighting to let your chickens hatch more eggs, you have to protect the eggs. We were about five of us. So as we were about passing the market, my driver pointed at the boys. I told him to clear. As he was doing this, they came with their pickup and blocked me. I then jumped out of the car and said what is this? One of them who called himself General DieMan asked for my car to be searched while they pointed a gun at me. They threatened to burn my car and even abduct me. The gang leader then called for reinforcement. It then dawned on me that Baba II people had really been suffering”.
After narrating his encounter with the amba boys, this reporter together with other press men sought to find out what exactly transpired before the house was set alight.
“We were working on the farm in the evening that day and one of our brothers ran to us and said they had kidnaped Mami (Fru Ndi’s sister) that we should run. So we abandoned what we were doing and ran away, jumping through the fence. At the time the boys set the house on fire, they even thought we were inside,” one of the gardeners narrated.
Pa Agu Thomas, a neighbour and brother to Fru Ndi said that the boys attacked the compound at about 4:00pm, breaking through the fence. “They entered the house and carried valuables, loaded their truck and drove off. This they did three times before they finally set the house on fire at about 7:00pm”.
Chairman Fru Ndi was not grieving at the amount of damage incurred, but at the memories taken away that may never be replaced: “that’s a house my late wife built and unfortunately for her, it’s all burnt”.
He however said that he is determined to raise the structure before December so that he can celebrate the feast of Christmas together with the people of Baba II as he usually does. He then estimated the damages cause to be worth over 120million FCFA. Some of the items, he said, can never be found in modern times.
Fru Ndi concluded by saying that thieves have infiltrated into the ambazonian course: “some highly placed ministers am told have formed their own gang and these are the ones harassing the people. It’s unfortunate”.