By Sah Terence Animbom
Following the military raid in Bafut last Monday January 25, 2019 that led to the killing of over 14 youths in the sub division, many families have now joined that of Mami Lum Frida, a woman in her late 70s who is now confined to a wheelchair after her house was burnt in Bafut last year by yet to be identified men leading to three casualties. Though Bafut inhabitants claim the house was burnt by uniform men, The SUN cannot independently confirm who actually set the house on fire. The old woman lost her husband as a result of the fire incident, including two of her grandchildren Rene Nkwenti and Sylvia Nkwenti who died as a result of the fire.
When interviewed by The SUN, Mama Lum said the recent killings gave her nightmares as she lamented at her friends’ children’s funeral last week. She said the recent killings in Bafut brought to mind the deaths of her husband and grandchildren. She worried about the whereabouts of her grandson Princewill who escaped from Bamenda since in November 2017 just after the escalation of the Anglophone crisis into an armed conflict. Her story and many others remain underreported due to the escalating tensions and the ongoing war between La Republique and Ambazonia fighters in the North West and South West region of Cameroon. The fighting presents high risks to journalists who find it difficult to travel to the conflict and war zones. The SUN Newspaper correspondent met mama Lum at the compound of Pa Neba Mathias in Niko Bafut whose family was lamenting the loss of their two sons that occurred last Monday due to the military raid by the special BIR forces in Bafut that left over 14 youths dead, believed have been killed by the La Republique government. It has become totally unsafe for any Bafut teenage boy to walk on the streets Bafut.
During its interviews, The SUN later found out that Ade Christopher, Princewill Nkwenti, Niba Ambroise, and many others were some of the youths who took part in the October 1, 2017 mass street protest in Bamenda for the independence of Southern Cameroon which turned deadly. Many youths who took part in the demonstrations in all of Anglophone Cameroon have remained on the run with many arrested and locked up in maximum security prisons in Yaounde Cameroon. It was also discovered that the military actually used drones to take pictures of demonstrators which facilitated them to easily track them down later. Hundreds of youths have been whisked off in military trucks without any prior warning to unknown destinations since the October 1, 2017 Anglophone protests.
It is worth noting that Bafut has become the strong hold of Ambazonia restoration fighters with over 1000 fighters who now control the sub division. No administrative activities take place in Bafut and many of it youths have fled to different towns out of Bamenda and the North West. Children do not go to school in Bafut and most regions around; even birth certificates cannot be issued in the subdivision. Transportation activities have been grounded and people have to go about their daily activities on foot. Many children out of school help commuters transport their luggage in carts around the area due to the halt in the movement of automobiles.