By Sah Terence Animbom
After vowing not to leave the debris of their burnt houses to anywhere else on the 19th of November 2019, some of the more that 700 affected persons of the eighty-three and twenty-eight burnt houses in Abuh and Ngwah villages respectively in Fundong Sub Division in Boyo Division of the North West Region of the Republic of Cameroon are now caught in a real state of dilemma as the rains begin fully. After watching in deep pain and with sincerely heavy hearts their houses burn to ashes, some unable to even see what went down and some only resurfacing after three days to face the ugly shock and reality they had been forcefully brought to, more than seven hundred (700) victims; women, men and children not forgetting to mention in bold heavily pregnant women who had prepared their maternal kits awaiting delivery were as stranded as the Israelites before the deadly Red sea and at the mercy of savage chariots of Pharaoh just before Moses hit the Red Sea with his magic staff.
Forcefully pushed into the rank of Internally Displaced Persons, most of the victims moved out of the villages to Fundong Central Town to perch with family members there while many moved further into the bushes and down to Konene and Fonfuka in Bum Sub Division. Living completely at the mercy of strangers and the community that is already suffering adverse effects as a result of the gotten out of hand Anglophone Crisis, the victims have been subjected to the most grave of psychological trauma especially as all their food stuff; maize, beans, oil rice and other basic commodities including all their clothes were razed to complete ashes without the chance of saving even a pin. Even their pots were melted by the wild fire.
“When the military started burning houses in the other end of the village on November 19, 2019, I gathered my very important things and hid them in the coffee farm in my compound. My valuable furniture, food items and clothes that I and my children took out of the house thinking that we were saving them were deliberately burnt by those wicked thugs after setting our house on fire on the 20th of November 2019. It is this level of wickedness that I am yet to understand” a victim told The SUN Newspaper.
“The military took three days burning our houses uninterrupted and looting our valuable property and loading it in their cars and carting away.” Another victim added. “Before setting a house on fire, they broke in, surveyed and gathered all the valuable things they could gather and perhaps some money that was kept at home before proceeding to set the houses on fire,” said another victim. “There is no doubt that our houses were burnt by the military. Yes the Amba boys had been in our community for long with their camp in the village and had never bothered anybody in the community. It was only during the three days that the military entered the village that our houses were burnt and over three people were killed”.
The SUN Newspaper spoke with a breastfeeding mother who had just put to birth at the time of incident and was forced to keep running from one valley to another with her few weeks old baby and eventually trekked to Fundong Town on the third day after she got news that her own house in which she lived with her mother had also been looted and set ablaze.
Speaking with Madame Tim Fidelia, the coordinator of BERUDA Fundong and the Fundong women’s president, she narrated the sorry state she has met women and girls in host homes as a result of these ruthless burnings. “A woman told me in pain she regrets why she did not stay to die in her house and ran to be subjected to this kind of suffering. She said where she was living, if her husband managed to give a thousand francs as contribution to the cooking that day, her children will eat of the food cooked. She said on the day her husband does not contribute, she will not understand where the food cooked that day passed. It was so sad to see a woman who is eight months pregnant forced to go to the farm just so that she can give her own physical contribution to the labour in her host family and be considered with her children when food is cooked”.
It is worth noting that the government has not up to this moment, more than three months after issued any statement in relation to the burnings in Abuh and Ngwah villages in Fundong Sub Division, thus fulfilling the popular assertion that silence is acceptance.
The population now depends on the benevolence of the churches and Boyo sons and daughters of good will in and outside the country. The Auxiliary Bishop of the Bamenda Arch Diocese His Lordship Bishop Michael Miabesue Bibi went to the aid of over 480 victims in December who were residing in Fundong Town with some family members and friends with food supplies and basic household needs after a worrying report to the Bishop by Rev. Fr Noah a mill hill missionary serving at the St. Jude’s parish in Fundong after the church was flooded with IDPs from Abuh and Ngwah.
Working together with Rev. Ndimbuh David of the Joseph Merrick Baptist Church Fundong, the Catholic Church and Presbyterian Church compiled a list of 480 IDPs who needed help and who virtually benefitted from the gesture of the Auxiliary Bishop that was made possible by The Afo-a-Kom Charge Care Group in the USA.
Victims of the Abuh-Fundong arsons stranded as rains set-in
By Sah Terence Animbom