Buea near normal, while Bamenda a ghost town

The East African | The capital of the South West region of Cameroon is gradually losing the ghost town feel it has taken on every Monday for almost four years now, an indication of a decline in the intensity of violence in the region, in stark contrast with the tension that continues to grip the neighbouring North West region.

On this Monday, traditionally the “ghost town” day that secessionist militias have imposed since the end of 2016, taxis and pedestrians have taken back possession of Buea’s streets. For the third week in a row since the easing of protective measures against COVID-19, business is picking up at the foot of Mount Cameroon. Slowly, of course, but still a far cry from the deserted streets witnessed every Monday over the past three years.

“It’s not crowded yet, but little by little things are getting back to the way they were,” says Eleanore, a student who decided to come to the University of Buea campus on Monday, where classes have resumed.

“This morning, people took their time to leave their homes because there’s always a certain amount of fear. But as the day progressed, more and more people left their homes and filled up the streets,” she says.

On Molyko Avenue, the city’s main shopping street, most stores were open all day long. However, just a stone’s throw away from the avenue, market vendors had not set up their stalls, cautiously preferring to remain closed.

‘Counter-productive operations’

Ordered at the outset of the crisis by Anglophone separatists, the ghost town days have been carefully obeyed, literally cutting off the entire social and economic life of the North West and South West regions from the rest of the country. During these periods, no activities or travel were permitted and residents were ordered to stay at home by armed groups who threatened to retaliate against any persons venturing to disobey the rules.

Buea’s residents are no longer the only ones defying the separatist-enacted bans, which goes to show that the intensity of violence is on the decline in the South West region. In the coastal city of Limbe, shops and restaurants were open on Monday. On the other hand, in Kumba, 70 kilometres north of Buea, the atmosphere was still very calm. Just a few neighbourhood shops dared to flout the ghost town day restrictions.

“The operations have become counter-productive,” admits Agbor Balla, a lawyer who is one of the Anglophone leaders who approved this method of action when the crisis first broke out.

Now, the activist is instead campaigning to bring an end to these kinds of initiatives.

“The people suffer the most from the ghost town days. It’s clear that they are tired of it and that’s why they no longer comply with the rules,” he says. “Those who still yield to the shutdown orders only do so out of fear of retaliation – not at all out of support.”

Bamenda, the last ghost town standing

In Bamenda, in the neighbouring North West region, ghost town regulations are still dutifully followed. From Commercial Avenue, the city’s main thoroughfare, to working class neighbourhoods, not a soul is to be found in the streets. The only notable exception is the secured enclave of Up Station, a neighbourhood where administrative department premises are concentrated, under the protection of the base of the fifth military region.

Bamenda’s deserted streets echo the still heavy tension gripping the region. Unlike the relative calm observed in the South West, the North West is a hotbed of recurring violence. However, although the secessionist militias remain very active there, the movement seems to have been greatly weakened by regular operations conducted by Cameroon’s army in recent weeks. According to a military source, “total peace is just around the corner for the region.”

In Yaoundé, the government is already thinking about what comes next. Appointed three months ago as National Coordinator of the Presidential Plan for the Reconstruction and Development of the North West and South West Regions, Minister Paul Tasong is embarking on an awareness campaign to inform the authorities and populations of these regions about the action that will be taken. He has chosen Bamenda for his first visit and it will take place this coming Monday.

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16 comments

  1. “According to a military source, “total peace is just around the corner for the region.”

    The so-called “one and indivisible” LRC is indeed a country ruled by FOOLS. They are so dull to understand that PEACE is NOT the absence of war.

    The truth of the matter is that PEACE will only return to SC after the Anglophone Question has been TOTALLY, COMPLETELY, IRREVERSIBLY and UNCONDITIONALLY resolved. NOTHING MORE NOTHING LESS

    • **** ANOTHER PROOF ****

      ” Le Parisien “, a renowned French newspaper, has OFFICIALLY announced the death of Paul Biya ( see the edition no. 244093 of thursday, the 25.06.2020).
      However, the CRIMINALS ruling the so-called “one and indivisible” LRC continue to deceive cameroUbians and the world that Biya is still in charge.
      These same LRC criminals continue to deceive cameroUnians and the world that “total peace is just around the corner for the region.” However, the reality is different .

      • Did you try to get corroboration of Le Parisien’s story? Surely such a story involving a powerful customer should be all over the news! I have searched and searched to no avail and i wonder if it is not fake news peddled from Le Parisien.

      • Kumkum Pass Gari

        Ambazombie stupidity on display!

        BREAKING NEWS: A nyamfukah terrorist announced that President Paul Biya passed away several weeks ago yet he is still receiving diplomats on a daily basis at the Etoudi palace.

        Stupidity and foolishness is your portion for eternity! Nyamfukah terrorist!

  2. It is very fortunate, that there is total confusion at Etoudi palace of the demi god.
    If the Grand Master can die, what about his student? If he is indeed alive, why
    did Biya, not attend his master`s funeral? What goes around, comes around. One
    facts remains about Biya: he has totally, failed in life. His immediate family, is
    down. It had to happen. Lady Irene may be gone, but her wishes, remain intact.

  3. How many Bakwerians are members of the Board of Directors of CDC? 11 of the 14 members are Betis.

    How many Bakwerians will be members of the Board of Directors of the Victoria Seaport? Look at the document, ZERO.

    Has SONARA stopped paying its land taxes but to Douala? Absolutely not.

    Dion Ngute is PM, how many kilometers of road are tarred in Ndian? ZERO?

    So, what is the meaning of return to normal?

    • Ambaman,

      Your name is very consistent with how you view the world. Your facebook republik has proven in less than four years that you are a bunch of sick charlatans.

      The boys in your control will die. Some of the soldiers fighting for the government will die, but your dream of ambazonia will never come true. If you no like am, you can take the next flight to Cameroon and go fight.

      Cowards..kumkum pass garri

      Where dem dey? Kikikikikikiki

      • hahaha ambazonia a facebook country with facebook citizens.
        lets fight to build cameroon and forget about that rubbish called ambazonia

      • BROTHER JOE. MY MAN YOU SAID IT ALL. Ambazonia for African land. Hah hah hah hah hah. Let them keep on dreaming of their virtual country. Africa will never ever have an Eastern European name. Those days of slavery, colonization are over. There is nothing like French or English Cameroon.
        Old pirates, yes, they rob I
        Sold I to the merchant ships
        Minutes after they took I
        From the bottomless pits
        But my hand was made strong
        By the hand of the Almighty
        We forward in this generation
        Triumphantly
        Emancipate yourself from mental slavery
        None but our self can free our minds
        Have no fear for atomic energy
        ‘Cause none of them can stop the time

  4. Rational thinking enables people to think calmly, logically and objectively before taking decesions. The great advantage of this approach is that it helps us see ahead of time, anticipate deviate or simply avoid taking decesions that will have terrible consequences. Following this scientific line of thinking, what did we think will be the reaction of younde before taking up arms? Did we ask ourselves what thier response will be?

    • You bloody Fool Bah Acho. You do not even remember who took up arms first. You should be asking that your question to Yaounde and not to those who took up arms because they were forced to. Chicken head Bah Acho !!! What did Yaounde think when they used the army against Lawyers,Teachers,students and peaceful protesters? According to your ignorant comment, the victims of government soldiers aggression should have just accepted that they deserve to die, right?

      • @ Bobe those lawyers never asked your thugs to take arms and attack the brutal Biya regime for they knew they were being trained by the wicked Israelis and supported by the West. The lawyers used their intellect and knew they were going to have support from the intentional community and some sensible francophones which actually happened here in Canada. Your terrorist Ambazonia organization hijacked the movement and squandered everything. Your foolishness has screwed up Cameroon and will help France and the Biya family to control us for another 30 years. our only hope is for African Americans to gain more power in the USA.

        Africans are useless people. Unfortunately the brothers and sisters they sold as slaves will be the same ones to liberate them from their colonial masters.

        • @bobjazz,i have watched you closely but have never seen you comment about the atrocities carried out on innocent Ambazonians by the lrc military.
          There is even a most recent article about Wazizi,and the Ngarbuh incident,but no comment from you.but when it’s about our ARF,and ghost towns,you rush to comment.you are happy when our people are killed and yet pretend to be a British Southern Cameroonian.do you happen to be one of the french sympathizers that came out for the lawyers in your Canada?

          Those thugs are freedom fighters,and write it down “we are going to win this fight”.
          Go and organise your march past in yde with your family and francophone friends and spare us the gibberish.
          We fought for the GCE board,multipartism etc,but we are not ready to die for you this time around.

      • BOBE,,,,, in any conflict, geostrategic or geopolitical competition.only those who are calm, coolheaded, and rational prevail because they do not allow emotions to take control of their minds.all decisions must be made after a calm reflective and thoughtful process. The kind of emotional behaviour in your writing leads to failure and disasters that could easily be avoided. The question here is not whether younde was right, but whether before taking arms to retaliate we thought of what thier reaction would be? if so what did we prepare as a response in case they reacted the way they did?

        • Palapala,

          I don’t know what you have smoked but if you keep smoking it, i wouldn’t be surprised if you’ll be on the next flight to Lebialem to fight with “your” boys.

          Who gives you the right to tell anyone what to condemn? That wuna cult don really do don…

          Kumkum pass garri… kikikikikikikikiki

        • @Brothajoe,have you removed your head from atanga njis smelly ars.
          Keep on getting high while thinking others are like you.
          Florence Ayafors ghost will never allow you have peace in your miserable life.what goes around,comes around.

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