By Andrew Nsoseka
Inhabitants of Economic City, Sandpit and Wondjoko in Buea Sub Division, Southwest Region, have for days now been grappling with stench from unidentified corpses, executed and dumped in their neighbourhoods, during the 10 days Separatists’-imposed lockdown.
The plights of the denizens in the aforementioned neighbourhoods were further compounded when they beseeched the Buea Council to help remove the decomposing corpses from the neighbourhoods for burial.
But the Council staff, instead of performing their duties, asked the inhabitants of these neighbourhoods to contribute FCFA 150,000 per corpse, before the Council Sanitation Department could remove the decomposing bodies for burial.
One of the inhabitants of the aforementioned neighbourhoods said the Council staffs were emphatic that if the money was not contributed and handed to the Council, the population will continue to ingest the stench of the decomposing corpses, with all the health hazards involved.
The population further expressed worries because one of the corpses was dumped on a bridge over a stream used by locals as a source of drinking water.
Some residents in the concerned neighbourhoods, who spoke to The Post, narrated the ordeal of living in an area with decomposing corpses. On how the abandoned corpses ended up in the neighbourhood, one of our sources said: “on February 11, we heard gunshots from the upper parts of the Economic City, after a while, the gunshots started coming from Eta Palace residence, all my children got up and were scampering into different directions. I told them to be calm and that no one should go out. As the sounds of guns drew closer, my kids ran under their beds. The guns were now coming from the junction just beside us. A group of boys ran through my compound and the last gunshot was fired in front of my neighbour’s door. My children became restless; I begged them to remain still…
“A few minutes later, some army came around moving all over the place in their numbers. After searching around and not seeing anyone, they went back to the junction, where a young boy was shot. That was the last shooting. It appeared the boy was captured and brought there before he was killed, because when we were called to come and identify the body, we discovered that he was shot on the neck. The bullet went in from the side of the neck and came out on the top part of the head,” our source narrated.
Our source said the young man killed was between the age of 14 and 16.
“He looked very skinny and young. It made me feel bad because the deceased was just a boy, from all indications; he was caught alive and later killed and dumped on the bridge…no body, especially a child should die in that manner. His corpse was abandoned there for days, with the heat; it began to swell and became so big. We were afraid that it was going to burst.” he lamented
In Wondjoko, the inhabitants are also grappling with two corpses that were allegedly killed by the military on February 8 and dumped in the area.
A source told The Post that on Friday, February 8, during the 10 days lockdown, a taxi drove into the neighbourhood and parked beside the road. I was working on my plot. Two military officers alighted from the taxis and fired several into the air. We were scared and people ran into their houses. We later came out and saw two corpses dumped on the spot where the taxi had parked. It seemed as though they were killed elsewhere, because their gun wounds were not fresh. We could not identify the corpses, but later heard that they were some two young men who were arrested around Congelcam. Their corpses remained there for days. When we contacted the Buea Council, they demanded money from us.
“It is shameful that the Council demanded money from us to do their job. Buea has a big Council with a huge budget, yet they demand hundreds of thousands to buy hand gloves, and even say they have to give part of the money to the military. It seems to me like they kill and dump the corpses here, so as to make money from burying them,” our source said.
Council fleeces Money From Locals To Bury Corpses
After several days of enduring the stench from the decomposing bodies, the locals rallied and sent a delegate to the Buea Council to see the Sanitation Department head.
“When we met him, he assured us that the corpses will be removed and buried. Days after, nobody came from the Council. Another delegation of 13 persons was sent again after hundreds of people had gathered, threatening to march to the Council, because we had no authority to bury the corpses which we considered were kept as a trap to track down certain persons…”
During the second meeting, the delegates were allegedly prevented from entering the Council premises to plead with Council authorities. They were attended to by a man who said they had to pay FCFA 150,000 before each of the corpses will be buried.
“We met a man who said he was delegated to take care of our problem. He said we needed to give him FCFA 50,000, because he was going to give gendarmes FCFA 20,000 from the amount, and that we have to dig the grave. We told him that it is the responsibility of the Council to dig such graves and not the population. They said we should look for people and pay them to dig the grave, but we refused. The Council worker increased the price to FCFA 130,000. We came back and did contributions to bribe the Council workers to do their job. We contributed FCFA 116,000. We went to the Quarter Head, Pa Amasi and the Council people were called. They came on that day, late in the afternoon, before the corpse at Economic City was removed and buried in an unmarked grave.”
In the case of Wondjoko Quarter, the inhabitants contributed FCFA 150,000 and when the Council team came, they buried one of the corpses and went back.
They only returned later to bury the other corpse when the villagers contributed another FCFA 150,000, as they were told. The Council is making a fortune from such burials as young people continue to die under questionable circumstances.