Bloody ethnic clashes erupt again in Sangmelima!.

Bloody ethnic clashes erupted again yesterday in Sangmelima, Dja and Lobo Division of the South Region, after a non-indigene was accused of having killed an indigene.

Reports say violence erupted in the town when a businessman of Bamoun extraction, allegedly killed a client who was of Bulu origin.

We gathered that the Bulu man was found dead Tuesday night after he had supposedly had threats from his Bamoun business associate. 

A source in Sangmelima told The Guardian Post that the threat came after a misunderstanding between the two. It was revealed that the Bulu man, whose name we could not immediately get, was a retailer serving the Bamoun man.

Two days prior to his death, the deceased is said to have been given goods to sell on retail, but allegedly didn’t turn in the agreed amount of money to the wholesaler. 

The source revealed that this did not go down well with the wholesaler, who allegedly promised him death.

It is further reported that when other vendors, who were present when the threat was made, learnt of the Bulu man’s death, they marched to the Bamoun man’s house to inquire if he had a hand in the misfortune.

It was then that things went out of hand when Sangmelima indigenes began staging a retaliation. They attempted mob justice on the Bamoun man but were quickly interrupted by security forces.

This led to a riot amongst businessmen and women in the market, our source said. The source added that the violence escalated with the Bamouns and Bulus in the town fighting each other and destroying shops in the market.

Reports have it that the interventions of the Senior Divisional Officer, SDO, of Dja and Lobo Division, the Divisional Officer, of Sangmelima Subdivision and other authorities of the area were not enough to calm the fuming population.

The defense forces of the area, unable to control the population, are said to have sent a distress call to Ebolowa and Yaounde, requesting reinforcement to stop the riot.

The DO of Sangmelima Subdivision, Damian Owono, we gathered, addressing the angry mob, reminded them that their actions were against the prescription of the Head of State, who recently preached against hate speech and assured Cameroonians that they were free to live comfortably in any part of the country.

The riots led to several people wounded and properties destroyed. The wounded are said to be receiving treatment in hospitals. 

Sources say it was when the Governor of the South Region, Felix Nguele Nguele, arrived the scene that calm and serenity were restored momentarily. But security forces have been assigned to mount guard in the area for at least one week until the dust settles.

Speaking to state-own Cameroon Radio Television, CRTV, Governor Felix Nguele Nguele, said the clashes emanated from a business deal that went sour. 

He added that it was unfortunate that this was coming days after the celebration of the National Day, which symbolises peace, national unity, integration and social cohesion.

Governor Nguele Nguele said national unity, integration and social cohesion are paramount and the government will leave no stone unturned to ensure that these are preserved.

The clashes come days after the Ministers of Communication and Territorial Administration and the President of the National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism, had, in a joint press conference, condemned all forms of xenophobia and hate speech.

 

Ethnic clashes not new in Sangmelima

It should be recalled that yesterday’s incident was not the first time indigenes and non-indigenes in Sangmelima were engaged in bloody clashes.

In October 2019, several persons escaped from the town following violent conflicts and looting between ethnic groups, during which indigenes claimed outsiders were causing mounting insecurity. 

Hundreds of people, especially the youth, armed with machetes, hammers, spades and spears, had defied anti-riot police, invading shops in Sangmelima, looting and torching some over resentment of non-indigenes. 

Some members of government, including the Minister of State, Minister of Higher Education, Jacques Fame Ndongo, who was born near Sangmelima, held a crisis meeting in October 12, 2019 and condemned the attacks and looting. 

Fame Ndongo had said then that government had taken note of the youths' grievances but that Cameroonians from its over 260 tribes and foreign citizens with residence permits are free to live and do business wherever they want in Cameroon.

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