YAOUNDE – Elizabeth Etimu, 62, is inconsolable. Her son, Eric Etimu, a 27-year-old police officer, was killed Monday by separatist fighters in the English-speaking southwestern town of Mamfe.
Dozens of family members and well-wishers have been visiting their Emumbo, Yaounde, residence to console the widow. Eric’s uncle, 50-year-old military man Bruno Azegue, acts as spokesperson for the family. Just returned from Mamfe, says God saved him from the devastating war that killed four of the nine troops with whom he fought against the separatists for three months.
He says his wish and prayer is for the government to immediately negotiate an end to the war so that their disgruntled English-speaking brothers, who have taken arms and are not ready to lay them down until their grievances are attended to, return home and stop the loss of too many lives. He says the war has affected so many French-speaking Cameroonians either by killing, wounding and incapacitating their loved ones or ruining their economies.
Wounded French-speaking troops and their family members are asking the government of Cameroon to negotiate a peaceful end to the separatist war in its English-speaking regions. The soldiers, who have been flown to hospitals in Yaounde and Douala, say within the past two months, many of their peers are dying because the fighters have acquired modern weapons of war and have a mastery of the environment.
Currently at the Yaounde military and police hospitals, there are 32 wounded soldiers brought in within one month. The military says there are 14 in Douala.