By Ikome Christie-Noella Eposi in Buea
Many people have fled Fako Division, South West Region after separatists called for a 10-day lockdown to frustrate the Limbe Festival of Arts and Culture. Hundreds of inhabitants were seen Wednesday night taking last buses out of the town of Buea to neighbouring Douala and even to the capital, Yaoundé.
Prior to the lockdown, voice messages were released by separatist fighters asking that activities be grounded during the said lockdown; no movement of taxis, closure of business premises, and schools and for the population to remain in doors.
Day one of the lockdown was very much in play as Buea, chief town of the South West Region was locked down. Majority of shops, banks, schools and businesses were all closed in response to the lockdown. However, some business premises have defied the lockdown as their shops are open to give solace to the inhabitants to purchase foodstuff for their households.
The population can equally be seen along the streets of Buea, though not in their numbers. “I bought my foodstuff the day before so as to be ready for the lockdown. Last lockdown I didn’t buy any foodstuff which made it very difficult for me to stay at home for 10 days,” one inhabitant in Buea noted.
“I cannot believe that the population is still respecting calls made by separatists. It is unbelievable” another noted.
“How is this lockdown affecting the government and the Republic of Cameroon which the people (separatists) are fighting to secede from”? a local questioned.
It should be recalled that a similar 10 days lockdown was instituted in February across the North West and South West Regions. The lockdown led to inhabitants fleeing the regions, with them only returning afterwards.
With the suffering and economic hardship that many are presently facing due to the Anglophone crisis which is in its third year now, many say such a lockdown only adds to the suffering and pain they are witnessing. They are calling for the separatist leaders and the Interim government to be considerate, knowing that is the population that is feeling the pain.