By DOH BERTRAND NUA
After successfully monitoring the twin municipal and legislative polls in Mamfe Central Sub-Division, Manyu Division in the crisis-hit South West Region, we left for Bachuo Ntai, where we had a brief rest at the Palace of Chief Senator Nfor Tabetando.
From Bachuo Ntai, some few minutes after 4pm, the convoy of diehard CPDM party officials and five journalists left for Buea. The convoy benefited from the escort of a heavy disposition of the elements of the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR), Cameroon’s Elite Force.
We were all aware of the perilous journey that was ahead of us. It was a safe drive through villages in Manyu Division until we stepped foot on Kupe Muanenguba soil. Our first attack was at Babensi I village, shortly after Ntalangaye where sporadic shots were fired from bushes. Here, separatists fighters had put down huge trees and mounted road blocks.
Bullets and cartridges started pouring on us from nearby bushes as the BIR Commandos alighted their cars to clear the road with use of chain saws. The deafening gunshots lasted some 45 minutes as the determined fire-power displayed by our nonsense BIR protectors did not in any way hold the defiant ‘Amba boys’ back from firing at us.
Only God alone knows how I was saved from the cartridges that riddled our car. The glass of the vehicle’s front seat where I sat was completely brought down. The broken glasses fell on me. Anything could happen at this juncture to me as more cartridges kept pouring on our car. I had just a BIR helmet that was surrendered to me by one of the BIR drivers at Nguti. The helmet prevented the scores of cartridge grains from penetrating my skull (it is believed ‘Amba boys’ do poison their cartridges and bullets).
I also had a small black laptop bag with me which I used to cover the damaged door glass. The bag was perforated on several spots by cartridge grains from the ‘Amba Boys’ who, were determined to spill blood. Without the laptop bag, many cartridges would have penetrated into my body.
Panic-stricken as I was, I shouted prayers like a born again Christian asking for another chance to live from God Almighty. I didn’t even know if I was still breathing but kept shouting like a new born baby exposed to excruciating cold weather or better still undergoing the pains of circumcision.
Frustrated as I was, I almost opened the car door to meet the BIR elements who were displaying their combat know-how outside for better protection but was interrupted severally with words of caution from the driver and a CRTV colleague.
It was at this stage that one of the BIR guy while actively firing at the ‘Amba boys’ from their hideouts rushed me like a baby into one of the nearby Armour cars that was strategically stationed to cover our car. The CRTV colleague was also rushed into another Armour vehicle minutes later. Our courageous driver, seemingly in his early 30s was left to drive alone in the car with a broken door glass.
Few metres from the Babensi attack, we met heaps of wildfire set on the road by the separatist to prevent us from driving. We managed to pass unhurt. We cleared over five road blocks before successfully arriving Konye, where, we waited for 30 minutes to get reinforcement from Kumba.
The reinforcement from Kumba was to clear Kumba-Konye road blocks. Over five of the barricades were destroyed and the fighters pushed to the forest.
It was at Konye that the BIR team that accompanied us had to return to their Nguti base.
We finally got to Kumba at about 9pm. After close to 30 minutes rest, we left for Buea. The convoy cleared four road blocks along the Kumba-Buea road before we arrived Mile 17.
We were then escorted out of the troubled region by another combat-ready squad to Moungo Bridge, where, we left for our different destinations.
Arriving Mamfe Saturday, January 8, 2020 wasn’t easy as well. We were attacked at three places all under Konye Subdivision. We cleared a road block at Muyuka and three others at Konye on our way.
-Nobody was injured
-Only two car door glasses were destroyed
-One white Hilux (our car) was riddled severally by ‘Amba’ cartridges
-Two tyre punctures (one civilian car, one Armour car) on our way to and fro Mamfe
Thank You Lord for another chance to live.
God bless and protect the BIR commandos who risk it all for us.