- Storm Shisong Hospital In Search Of Amba Boys
- SAC Kidnapped Students Released
By Andrew Nsoseka
Kumbo, capital town of Bui Division, and second largest town in the Northwest Region after Bamenda, has, again, slumped into another episode of misery. Barely a day after military reinforcement drove in, in armoured cars, from the regional capital, Bamenda, setting scores of houses ablaze and leaving its inhabitants scampering into the bushes to later resurface and lament over charred remains of what they called homes.
The burning and fighting, comes at a time when electricity has been cut off from the town for over two weeks. The unavailability of electricity has also crippled telephone signals and communication in the area.
Images and videos emerging from Kumbo show scores of houses reduced to ashes, with roofs completely eaten up by flames while sun-baked bricks, stonewalls and cement block walls stood, stained in smoke billowing from the remains of the structures and household equipment.
Locals hold that the military swooped into neighbourhoods and, after firing several gunshots, engaged in burning houses, as the locals sneaked away to seek safety in the bushes. Some people caught in the gunfire were reportedly killed, especially those who had gone out to their farms, only to return to hostile quarters.
Our source at the St Elizabeth Catholic Hospital Shisong, which also houses the Shisong Cardiac Centre, told The Post that the military, had, on Saturday, February 16, stormed the hospital, saying they were after wounded Amba Fighters. The officers stormed the hospital, on the suspicion that wounded gunmen were receiving treatment there.
Video footage filmed by a local, depicts a scene in one of the quarters where houses are seen in flames and smoke. The narrator in the video says: “the whole place is destroyed, everywhere is fire…everywhere is fire, everywhere”. He keeps repeating this as he moves closer towards the structures on fire. He went on to stand on a vantage point, where he focused his camera down on a fleet of houses covered in smoke. The short video clip ends with the amateur photographer running speedily to a direction as a voice, seemingly in pain, cries out. He, then, runs over to the person who seems to be in pains, bends over, and asks in the local dialect: “what is wrong?” after that, he then proceeds to turn off the camera to attend to the person.
Mass Abduction, Release Of SAC Students
A day before the burning of houses in Kumbo, gunmen are reported to have stormed St Augustines College, SAC, Nso, where about 170 students were taken away. Local sources, familiar with the case, say Church and school authorities intervened, led by the Principal, Rev. Fr Polycarp Salo, and, later, in the evening of Sunday 17, all the abducted students were released.
In reaction to the SAC abductions, the Diocesan Director of Communications, Rev. Elvis Nsaikila, S.D., in a press statement affirmed that on February 16, “unidentified gunmen came into the campus of Saint Augustine’s College, Nso, shortly after 6 a.m., and abducted some members of the College Community. They took along 170 students, 2 college security guards, one teacher and three of his kids.”
He narrated that the abductees were released sometime in the afternoon of Sunday, February 17. “Shortly after that, they assembled in the main mission station of St Paul’s Parish, Kikaikom. From there, they were conveyed by the authorities of the Diocese of Kumbo, back to the College Campus in the evening of 17 February 2018, arriving the campus about 8:30 p.m.
School authorities have requested parents and guardians to come and take their children back home as soon as possible. The school has closed down.
The Bishop of Kumbo and the school authorities of Saint Augustine’s College, Nso regret this incident, and sincerely sympathize with all the children and their families…” The Diocese declared in their press release. The resumed burning activity of Kumbo comes after one of its economic hubs, Squares, had earlier been reduced to ashes, leaving barely the Cathedral and a few structures standing in the once buoyant and busy street that teemed with economic and social activities.