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Carnage In Kumbo, Washout Bact-to-School Efforts
Category :- Education Author :- Andrew Nsoseka A N 
Posted on September 6, 2017, 12:00 am

Just in time when many thought things might bounce back to normal after several turbulent months in crisis stricken Anglophone zones, some gun tooting troops again opened fire on civilians, frustrating the built up efforts for school campaign,  scaring parents in and beyond the division from sending their children to school, for fear of another similar scenario.

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The acts which took place in the locality of Kifem, now has many versions of the story, on what led to the use of lethal force on civilians, by state trained security men.

The confrontation with gendarme officers, led to the killing of a 16 year old Cyprian Servidzem, the fatal wounding of three others, with the spill over effect in Kumbo, leading to another death recorded due to the civil unrest.

The narration going by some ‘official’ sources purports that the military men were on a mission to clamp down on a marijuana farmer, after which, the said officers were wrapped up in a goat theft scene, during which they reportedly opened fire on their accusers, killing one and injuring three others.

Some other sources hold that the uniform men were a contingent, deployed to ensure security in the wake of calls for school boycott, but they used their mission as a means to intimidate, search, and molest the locals in their homes and business sites. This version holds that the military officers after searching houses, ‘seizing money’, uncovering marijuana, and taking goats, were faced-off by civilians, leading to the use of live ammunition by the forces.

Following the gun carnage, villagers decided to carry the corpse of the slain Servidzem, in an attempt to march to the Divisional Head Quarters, Kumbo, during which they were intercepted and the corpse seized, but the population kept on marching to Kumbo, in solidarity and hopes to see their Fon.

A video also emerged, showing a handful of protesters on a road, surrounded by government vehicles, the footage unfolded, with the military men, firing dozens of gun shots, and spraying tear gas on the restive protesters, as the protesters caught in-between the forces cried out, falling and scampering into the nearby bushes.

Some individuals hold that the dispatched contingent is a group of soldiers, not familiar with the people, ‘whom they believed they could intimidate with guns and military apparel’.

At Kumbo, the irate population set fire on tyres at Squares, which was followed by the deployment of more troops who dispersed people by firing live ammunition. In videos emerging from the scene, people could be seen scampering into neighbourhoods while others took cover at the Kumbo Cathedral, as deafening rounds of gun fire were been unleashed.

Another video set in Tobin, showed soldiers approaching, and firing continually, although one could not decipher what they aimed at, as the gun rounds unfolded, soldiers appeared, crossing through the Tobin football pitch while shooting.

The population in Kumbo also set the main school in the town, Government Bilingual High School, GBHS Kumbo ablaze.  The act has been seen as a spill over effect of the carnage unleashed on the people by the officers.

Govt Blames Civilians For Attacking Gendarmes With Weapons

In an official communiqué following the incident, Cameroon’s defence ministry blamed the civilians, whom according to them, wielded crude weapons, attacked a gendarme officer, forcing the officers to retaliate in ‘self defence’.

Government however, has not provided evidence to show the weapons used on soldiers, nor the wounded gendarme officer. Videos emerging too have not shown a single scene with civilians carrying any weapons.

Government’s version of the story, however, does not add up, given that the company commander of the gendarmes was suspended as instructions were given that a new person will be appointed to replace him. Many people have repeatedly asked why the commander will be punished when his forces acted ‘appropriately’ and in self defence, according government’s own version of the story. Many are asking why the commander will be suspended for an action that was taken in ‘self defence’

The action of the gendarmes in Kifem and Kumbo, has dealt a serious blow to the back to school campaign, as many parents, students and pupils, have now voted with their feet to stay within the confines of their homes, till calm returns to town.    

 

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