Killing of 10 at Nacho Junction: And the blame game continues!.
Though the two English-speaking Regions have been in an asymmetric warfare, forged in a separatist agenda for some six years running, Bamenda, the regional capital of the North West, is supposed to be the most fortified and relatively safe.
But that has not been the reality. The regional capital has in recent times when government apologists have been boasting of "a return to normalcy," been the gory scenes of some of the most barbaric, insane and callous slaughtering of innocent civilians.
As this daily newspaper screamed yesterday, "men in military attire slaughtered 12 persons within 48 hours in Bamenda”!
The report was corroborated by Reuters News Agency, quoting "several testimonies" which claimed the attack was carried out by men dressed in the uniform of Cameroonian soldiers.
According to Reuters "gunmen fired on customers in a bar, yesterday Sunday April 16 around 7:30 p.m., in Nacho Junction”.
A witness said they arrived in two vehicles to storm Nacho Junction, where restaurants, bars and shops are located and shot at people indiscriminately before taking off.
In a video that one of the separatist leaders, Mark Bareta, shared on his Twitter account, corpses spread out on the side of a road counting up to nine bodies.
But the Head of the Communication Division at the Ministry of Defense, Navy Captain Cyrille Atonfack, refuted the charge alleging that there were separatists who entered the bar and opened fire.
“It was around 7:30 p.m. that these brainless secessionists burst into a bar at Nacho Junction, Bamenda II Subdivision…and fired blindly and without warning on the customers of the bar; causing nine deaths and two serious injuries,” he said.
According to him, the separatists “wanted to act in military uniform to camouflage their heinous crimes. Or even to try to maintain a blur on the perpetrators", but they were quickly unmasked.
According to him, the assailants "wanted to act in military uniform to camouflage their heinous crimes, or even to try to keep the perpetrators unclear".
He condemned the attack and promised that the defense and security forces will track down the perpetrators of the killings. After the attack, the police promised, according to the Ministry of Defense, "to track down these criminals until their last entrenchments”.
A day before the massacre in the bar, five youth were shot to death in Awing Quarter, in Bamenda I Subdivision.
Like the macabre massacre in the drinking spot, residents are divided as to who have been behind the satanic atrocities. Some attribute them to defence and security forces explaining that the killers wore military uniforms.
Others, however taking a cue from the Ministry of Defence Spokesman, said the separatist fighters wore military uniforms to mask themselves.
The Governor of the North West Region, Adolphe Lele Lafrique, told Reuters that a manhunt had been launched for the "terrorists" behind the massacre. "Investigations are on...,” the senior civil administrator said.
He did not say who was carrying out the investigation, given that such statements usually are intended to cool tempers. Bamenda has in recent times been the perilous sconces of unexplained murders.
Last March, university scholar, Dr Chiabi Emmanuel, was killed by gunmen in Bamenda.
Early in May this year, journalist, Anye Nde Nsoh, was shot to death by suspected Amba fighters in a bar in the Ntarinkon neighbourhood.
On December 22, last year, gunmen reported to be in military uniform, shot and killed a three-year-old girl and injured another 17-year-old in Bamenda's Ngomgham neighborhood.
Yet, Bamenda is said to be a safe haven in the hell the conflict has created in the two Anglophone Regions that has killed over 6,000 compatriots.
Both separatist and the military have been trading accusations in all those atrocities in the Bamenda regional capital soaked in a terrible cataclysm of insecurity
There have been announcements of numerous investigations to unmask the criminals, with the exception of that of Ngarbuh massacre, which was ordered by the Head of State, findings of all other such investigations have been wrapped in mystery.
The shameful atrocities, be they by troops or separatist fighters who are all Cameroonians, continue, often after a brief lull.
There won't be unanimity as to who are behind the slaughtering. But what cannot be denied is that those being killed are fellow civilians, children and women who may not even understand why there is a conflict.
It is the duty and responsibility of the government to protect them. Investigations if truly genuine, should be independent with legal minds from the civil society, which of course will only punish the culprits and not bring lasting peace.
It has been said time without number that the road to peace and security is genuine, inclusive and sincere dialogue with separatist leaders who, though in splinter camps, may be down but not likely to be out any time soon.
At The Guardian Post, we stand with the firm understanding that the decision to bring lasting peace in the two Anglophone Regions lies squarely in the hands of President Paul Biya, who is also the Commander -In-chief of the Armed Forces.