The Governor of the Southwest Region Region, Bernard Okalia Bilai, and the population of Buea that turned out at the Independence Square to commemorate the 51st Edition of Cameroon’s National Day survived a bomb attack.
The locally-made bomb went off just some 10 minutes after the Governor had left and the population had also reduced.
The blast occurred about 15 metres away from the two grandstands that harboured hundreds that turned out to celebrate May 20 – a day that signifies the abolition of the Federal State of Cameroon in 1972 in favour of a unitary state.
The explosion happened at a time when Journalists were still at the scene. Particles from the bomb that scattered around the event ground showed it was made with a gas bottle.
The military, who were just about 10 metres from where it went off, immediately ramped up security, preventing people from filming anything.
Considering that the Nation Day commemoration was held under tight security, many are questioning how someone could have smuggled an explosive into a place that was heavily guarded.
Governor Counts Achievements Of Peace, Dev’t
Before the blast, Governor Okalia Bilai had appreciated the mass turned out of the population at the event. He said the peace being witnessed in the Region owes to the wonderful collaboration from all stakeholders, including the youths.
He equally urged journalists to further extend a message of peace to those who could not show up at the grandstand.
“We want to thank all the stakeholders and you the media men for what you have been doing to carry the message of unity and peace. We want to sincerely encourage the youths who have mobilised today. The Youths have understood that their future is in peace, calm, and unity because what we enjoyed today is because of the unity and love that the predecessors of our fatherland built together.
“We must sustain it and we must continue. When you read the theme of these celebrations, it seems to have been inspired by the good behavior, and patriotic behavior of the people of the Southwest region because what we have achieved so far in this region is thanks to the tight collaboration, commitment of the population for the calm and the hard work. Activities have resumed in Buea because of the commitment to love, unity security, and calm,” said the Southwest Governor.
SDF Absent From March-past In Buea
About 2,000 people turned out for the march-past in Buea. They included the military, students, political parties, among others.
The march past started with different units of the Cameroon armed force, followed by the civilian march past that composed of students from secondary and higher education institutions. After that, political parties took the stage: Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement, CPDM; Frankist Movement of Emmanuel Frank Biya; National Salvation Party of Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary; and Union Population Du Cameroun, UPC.
They were all in their numbers, except for one that did not participate at all, the Social Democratic Front of, SDF, of Ni John Fru Ndi. Militants of the party in Buea told The Post they avoided the event for security reasons.
“Celebration Of Our Oneness”
Shortly after the event, the Senator for Fako, Charles Mbella Moki, said it was the “celebration of our diversity, a Celebration of our oneness, Celebration of peace, a celebration of the attainment of an objective keeping the nation together, defending our territorial integrity and of course paying homage to our leadership, that is guided by the head of state President of the Republic, His Excellency Paul Biya”.
He said “they” of the Southwest Region have exhibited their attachment to the ideals of Biya’s government “and our loyalty to the State”.
Looking at the turnout, he said everything is in favour of beliefs in the “oneness of our country and the goodness and greatness of the lord for his love for our country”.
The Senator stated that the celebration was an indication that people are beginning to understand that there is no better way of addressing the problems and challenges of Cameroon other than within an atmosphere of peace, common understanding, and a perfect conversation.