11 Wartime Safety Measures For Ambazonian Communities and Citizens
We need to say this over and over, multiply calls to ground zero, use social media, radio and TV to educate Ambazonians on how to survive during this time of war. Most Ambazonians have never lived in a war zone before. They were not prepared for war before it was declared and imposed on them in November 2017. They lack basic knowledge on what to do during war. Some lives that have been lost so far could have been saved if proper measures were taken. Some valuables could have been salvaged too had they been given some basic guides like these modest ones I would like to share below, even without being a crisis management expert or veteran in warfare.
- A community LRC-Raid Siren: Just like most countries have a war siren, air-raid siren, natural disaster siren, ambulance siren, etc. our communities should have one that signals the arrival of soldiers of La Republique du Cameroun in the village or small town. Since we don’t have the technology to operate a sophisticated siren we can use local tools that we master well such as: Drums, whistles, horns or popular screaming sounds like Wulelelele! Each community will have to agree on one alert sound. Even animals have this method to protect themselves from danger. In villages this can really save lives because while the invaders burn down one compound, other villagers will have some time to go into hiding or prepare for self-defense.
- Community bunkers: A bunker is a protective embankment or dugout. It might not be as technologically advanced as those in developed countries but in some of our villages like in Lebialem, nature has provided us with good bunkers fortified with solid rocks. Caves near streams, under waterfalls, in the mountains are the best. Visit them when the village is peaceful and furnish them with necessary items. Reserve bunkers for the elderly, women and children. Even when the invader will move from using fire to bombs these bunkers will minimize the impact.
- Build a farmhouse now: If you don’t have one build it now. Choose a well-hidden farm, build a hut there and make your trusted family and friends know it and how to get to it. Stock it with necessary items. When there is a raid in town or pending, send the elderly, women and children to live there even before the enemy strikes.
- Escape routes: This is something our people master very well and I don’t need to talk much on it but there is something else known as a decoy route. It is a path that leads the enemy to nowhere or away from those we intend to protect. So if the community bunker is near the village stream for example, during a raid, the invader should be led to a different direction, for example to the Fon’s palace. A decoy route is also used to lead an enemy into a trap.
- Blocking or slowing down reinforcements: This is not a duty reserved only for restoration fighters. Any civilian can do it especially those living in very enclave areas. We all know when reinforcements from La Republique du Cameroun are on the way. It’s usually when one of their men is injured, trapped, taken hostage or dead. Once any of that happens, expect reinforcements in the next 24hours. Examples of such techniques: road speed bumps, speed bumps with sharp nails, trenches across roads, trees felled across roads, boulders rolled onto the roads. Choose the spot carefully making sure there is no way around it and set up an ambush around the blockade.
- Emergency travel bag: Keep an emergency travel bag already packed throughout this time of war. Such a bag is usually not too big and should be convenient to carry like a backpack. Pack extremely necessary items such as: a lighter, flashlight, a knife, water, some cash, passport or ID card, originals of certificates and other important documents, a First Aid box, a twine, dried food and other items as considered fit. Keep the bag as light as possible. You can have several of these bags in a way that every grown up in the family has one. Keep your emergency travel bag at a safe and trusted place other than your home if you can. Remember when the enemy strikes, it might be directly at your home while you are away.
- Dress for adverse conditions: Choose your clothing carefully as you prepare to flee. Raincoats, sweaters, jeans, boots or sports shoes are highly recommended and avoid flashy colorful clothing. Green brown and dark are recommended colors for hiding in the bushes. Ladies avoid clothing that makes you weak and vulnerable to the invader. Don’t have a mini skirt and high heels on when you have to run. Dress preventively.
- Keep money handy: In wartime you don’t keep your money in any bank, credit union or njangi group because you don’t know the future. Keep your money in cash with you. You will need it. When the invader strikes, be it on a Sunday or on a working day, you don’t need to be trapped because you need to go somewhere to withdraw cash. You should be ready to go whether it means hiring a bike, car or leaving the country. If you want to hide money away from home make sure it is in plastic bags.
- Move your valuable items now: We all know that the enemy is using the scorched earth war tactics. Don’t wait to cry over your belongings. You can move them to a save location now. These valuable items include: Expensive appliances, electronics, jewelry, furniture, livestock and cash. If you have a trusted chief, move your items to his palace. If you don’t move them to the bunker or another safe location. This will minimize the loss when soldiers of La Republique du Cameroun burn down the village.
- Your cellphone could get you killed: Many of our people don’t know that the cellphones they have are traceable. Your cellphone or laptop is traceable especially when it is on. Every picture or video you upload online has a digital footprint. In fact it is on that basis that Issa Tchiroma declared recently that La Republique du Cameroun knew all the hideouts of Ambazonians and it was only a matter of time before they were attacked. Clean up or reset your social media profiles. La Republique du Cameroun agents are on facebook, twitter, instagram etc. If you are a restoration fighter, be cautious. When you are in total hiding, turn off your cellphone or laptop. It is more difficult to trace a device that is turned off than one that is on. In as much as you want to stay online, be careful.
- Be your neighbor’s keeper: If you know and practice all the tips above one last thing you have to do is educate your family, friends and neighbors. It’s a collective thing. Individually it won’t work. So, tell your family, friends and neighbors about your plans, your bunker, your escape routes, etc. You could be saving their lives too or that could help them save your life.
Hopefully these tips will be helpful to you reading and you will understand that warfare is a unique context very few have experienced. I also hope that activists of the revolution and media in Ambazonia like SCBC and SCAN Radio can include these tips in some of their programs so that the people of Ambazonia can learn how to live during war. Prevention is better than cure. We don’t have to all leave Ambazonia because the invader is there. If we all leave Ambazonia as they wish, the invader wins. We have to stay in Ambazonia and rather make the invader leave. The tips above can help us stay in win while staying in Ambazonia.