Opinion: Fear of Amba, beginning of foolishness!.

I spent the weekend in my Mutengene community so as to watch, live this year's edition of the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope, in Buea last Saturday.

Unfortunately, I couldn't make it because a lockdown was imposed by Amba fighters who exist in their various splinter groups in caves, forests, bushes and abroad, spewing fear in the North West and South West Regions.

On Saturday morning, Mutengene was "ghosted" into comatose with stores firmly locked and the public transportation system paralysed. When I asked why, I was told Amba fighters had imposed a lockdown to disrupt the Mountain Race as they did last year.

Before the race, there were media reports that security measures were being tightened in Buea. 

"The Cameroon military, particularly the Rapid Intervention Battalion, BIR, is conducting thorough searches along the race route, from the Molyko checkpoint to the administrative quarters. Soldiers are inspecting bushes, abandoned vehicles, and potential hiding spots for explosive devices. 

This heightened security follows last year’s incident, where three bombs exploded during the race, causing injuries and tragically taking one life. The authorities are determined to prevent any such recurrence and ensure a safe and successful event," one of the reports noted.

Last Friday, I also observed a helicopter sweeping through the sky at low altitude, perhaps hunting for Amba Boys from the air, as children greeted it shouting in excitement.

Thank God, the Race of Hope ended very successfully as I watched it life on television from the confines of my house as ENEO did not misbehave. 

It was not for the fear of Amba fighters that I didn't go to Buea, though I once caved in to their demands when they flagged me down in Momo Division of the North West Region.

It was the unavailability of public transport. And the lesson those power holders in Yaounde should learn is that when such satanic lockdowns and ghost towns are imposed, only residents know where the shoe pinches.

When traders are forced to open their stores by some administrators and mayors, customers do not turn up to buy. 

So they do not see any logic to take the risk when buyers won't come. 

That is why many transporters do not want to risk their vehicles being burnt for disobeying the ghost town when there won't be enough passengers to be worth the risk.

What I have however observed is that the residents of the two Regions have become so used to fear of Amba fighters to the point that they just foolishly observe Monday lockdowns and stay home during other national events, without even an order from the ghost wielders.

Usually, one of the numerous groups imposes its punitive injection to boycott an event. But for this year's Mountain Cameroon Race of Hope, I have searched all media links of the hooligans and did not see any one threatening to disrupt the race.

So, I am tempted to believe that they have so intimidated innocent compatriots living in the two Anglophone Regions, to obey orders no one has imposed. I think it is the beginning of foolishness. 

But who will blame them when you see and feel the atrocities they are committing to innocent people like I just watch a video of trucks being burnt in the North West Region, because the owners did not pay a 300,000 FCFA Amba 'tax'?

I conclude it is better to be a fool and be saved than confronting a ghost you don't know when and how it will strike you, despite the commendable security measures being made. 

I hope the politicians in Yaounde will do their part to ensure residents and their properties in the two Regions are protected in an environment of peace and justice.



Postscript: Fear is a phoenix. You can watch it burn a thousand times and still it will return- Leigh Bardugo. 


Truth by Asong Ndifor

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