Cameroon : Tension Still Prevails in Manyu-Mayor of Mamfe


Ayuk Taku-Nchung John, Mayor of Mamfe

**What is the security situation in Mamfe now?

                -I must say the security situation in Mamfe is very tense and the population is willing to collaborate with the administration and give vital information to the forces of law and order pertaining to those who would want to come and disrupt the peace. The public has come to know that it is of no use to mortgage the future of our populations especially the children who have been out of school for over a year now. So gradually things are returning to normalcy.

**Do you think this solidarity initiative by the Manyu elite will help the situation on the ground?

-In my opinion I believe it is going to do some good. At least those who are willing to change their minds will be pacified. It is true that there are some hardliners who see nothing positive in what is happening, all they want is division and hostilities. But it is a gradual process and things are slowly but sure changing for the better. I think the solidarity initiative is quite welcome.

 **What do you advise the government to do to bring back the fleeing populations?

-The government should give a listening ear and convene honest, inclusive dialogue.


 **What message to the populations of Mamfe?

–We should stand up like one person against the thrash so called Ambazonia. We should denounce their agents in our midst and denounce their destructive and divisive propaganda because it is a visionless agenda that will only lead to more loss of lives and property if allowed to prosper. We have already lost so much and we cannot afford to lose any more lives and property. We cannot continue to compromise the future f our children and our division. I call on the populations to come back to their good senses and reason maturely.

Manyu people should collaborate with  the administration

-Joseph Oum II, Manyu SDO


**Mr. SDO of Manyu, what is your impression after this donation of relief assistance to displaced persons by Manyu elite today?

                -It is a wonderful and very successful endevour that we are witnessing here today and like Minister Mengot said what we are witnessing today is just the beginning of much more to come in the days ahead. This initiative to assist ‘innocent’, collateral victims of the crisis that is currently shaking the NW and SW regions and Manyu division in particular cannot but be encouraged. I hail the Manyu elite and pray them to continue with this wonderful show of solidarity with their brothers and sisters. But at the same time I ask them to continue collaborating with the administration and to urge their siblings to do same because we are here to serve and protect them and not to victimize them.

 **But some of the displaced persons have expressed concerns about the heavy presence of military forces in Mamfe town and in some villages. They say with such frightful military presence they do not feel secure to come back to their homes. How do you react to this?

-I just said a while a ago that the elite of Manyu should join hands with us and make the populations to realize that the administration and the security forces are here to protect them and not to victimize them. And the populations should learn to collaborate with the administration and the security forces. They should help us to serve them better. They should denounce trouble makers and criminals in their midst. They should denounce any persons who want to divide the country and who from time to time mingle themselves with them.

  **What message for persons who have fled their villages and are now straying in the bushes and in neighboring Nigeria?

-Let me put the question back to you: What are these people scared of? Who are they running away from? Except maybe they are guilty of something otherwise I don’t see why people should abandon their homes to go and suffer elsewhere. I hear some are saying that the administration has a list of persons to be arrested whenever they return. I don’t know who compiled or is having that list. All I should say here is that except you are guilty of something, all persons who are straying in the bushes and in neighboring villages and countries should feel free and return home. And contrary to false information circulating around that the administration chased away the villagers, I think the villagers left their homes voluntarily. Perhaps some of the villagers knew that they actually connived with the terrorists to kill soldiers and so decided to run away. The case of Agborkem German easily comes to mind. Here the entire village escaped and emptied into Nigeria after some security officers were killed by terrorists there. There is also the case of Kembong where the villagers all took to their heels after four gendarmes were brutally killed there. So we are calling on these populations to return and to collaborate with the administration and the security forces. They are bona fide citizens of Manyu and of Cameroon; they deserve to be protected by the state; they should go about their activities normally. And we are here to protect them. I use this opportunity to hail those who have so far demonstrated civic maturity and are going to school normally. I hope that others will learn from this good example and also do the same.

 **Mr. SDO how can you describe the situation prevailing in Manyu presently?

-I am sorry Mr. Journalist I will not answer that question now. I hope you can bear with me.

 **Thank you Mr. SDO for accepting to talk to us.

-The pleasure was mine

The military should stop the excesses

-HRH Ayamba Ita Jacques, Chief of Eyumojock

                **Eyumojock is one of the most affected areas in this crisis, how do you react to this charity initiative of the Manyu elite?


True, Eyumojock which constitutes Ejagham central and Ejagham Njemaya has been the hardest hit by this crisis. Many of our people have been killed and many others displaced. Thousands are spread across different refugee camps in Nigeria while others have fled and sought refuge in safer villages. So I can only be happy with this charity initiative. I am happy because Eyumojock has been given a huge chunk of the donations from our brothers and sisters. I seize this opportunity to sincerely thank MEDWC and Manyu sons and daughters who participated in this charity initiative. I hope this is going to encourage our displaced brothers to return home because we cannot develop our division without people. If you consider the number of persons displaced from Otu, Eyumojock, Ekoneman, Nsanakang, Agborkim, Nsanarakati, Kembong etc they count more than two to three thousand. So you can figure out the seriousness of the situation.

                **Have you tried to talk to your displaced people to return home?

-Yes of course; I have been to the refugee camps in Nigeria on several occasions. I have been talking with both the Nigerian authorities as well as with the refugees. And you may want to know that some have already returned and many more are planning to return. In Nsanakang for example, many have returned. But many others are still scared by the presence of the forces. But sooner than later many more will come back. The problem I face however is that at times when I head to the refugee camps to convince these refugees to return, some internet generals of the Ambazonia struggle will send message to these unsuspecting refugees telling them that I am an agent of the government and that my mission is to trick them into the waiting hands of the gendarmes and police who will arrest and take them to Yaounde to be tortured and killed. Recently I carried car loads of food items to distribute to the refugees but before I got to the camps, a certain Mark Bareta had already sent word to them that I was leading a delegation with poisoned food from the government. He urged the refugees to reject the food and to pounce on us once we got there. It was the Nigerian immigration that saved us from the danger. So we need to brainstorm on ways and means to counter such false propaganda by the so called Ambazonians.

 **As traditional ruler and somebody who has been talking with these refugees what do you advise the government to do to get these refugees to return?

-The government should put everything in place for peace and normalcy to return. The most worrying factor now is fear. Even though we understand that the forces are here for our protection and safety, these refugees still believe they are here to arrest and kill them. That is where the problem lies. So we are calling on the security forces to stop some of the excesses that they are seen to have committed. I don’t think by setting people’s houses ablaze and ransacking and looting houses and shops the forces are acting responsibly. You don’t commit a wrong to correct another wrong. I think the government should call the forces to order. Then government should convene an inclusive dialogue where all those concerned can express their grievances. Dialogue does not compel one party to accept the conditions of another party. It is a matter of listening to the other party and making compromises. The government should call dialogue as a means towards ensuring a return of peace and normalcy.

  **And what message to your subjects both those still in the village and those displaced?

-For those who are in the village I call on them to be Vigilant and to collaborate with the administration and the forces of law and order. They should denounce any suspects they notice around. For those who have run away I beckon on them to come back. They should know that we are doing everything for normalcy to return. Parents should also allow their children to go back to school. Our people should admit that in this crisis both sides have committed errors and that it is time to forgive and ensure that things come back as they were before. Let peace and harmony reign in Manyu and Cameroon.

The Median Newspaper 

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