November 6, 2018
DIFFICULT TO BELIEVE
The slow learners that we are ever do get more confused when clever people speak. Therefore did I get so confused about the recent abduction of some eighty (80) students of PSS, Nkwen. My head is very heavy from my inability to answer a number of questions: a lawyer would say ‘relevant and material questions’.
I once opined that the fighting spirit of soldiers depends, to some degree, on the morale of the rank and file. That explains why, during the conflict, the home casualties are minimized while the casualties of the enemy is inflated. Even that is dependent on the support of the people at the rear. To sustain this, war-reporting is highly scrutinized.
And that is not at variance with one of the core values I learned during my ‘military service’ at CIFAN, Ngaoundere, in October, 1978. One of the officers at the command centre, a certain Major Mebouna, did not miss a single opportunity to impart to us that ‘You cannot discipline until you have learned to discipline yourself first’ : ‘Commander c’est savoir se commander’…
When the military call on the population today to support them or leave them alone, it conjures up that image of ‘self’ first. When I learnt in the college from fellow-students during riddles that ‘IBO’ means ‘ I Before Others’, I spent sleepless nights, seeking for corroboration. I ended up concluding that there was some sense in it because the IBOs are almost all ever successful in building themselves.
And in the biblical context did I put the issue. I did come off with the conclusion that Jesus never bid us to ‘Love your neighbours’. Jesus commanded us to love ourselves and then love our neighbours as ourselves. The English concisely put it this way: ‘Charity begins at home’. But is the commandment not, in truth, that you should ‘Love yourself (and then) love your neighbour as yourself’ ? If soi t is, where does that lead us to? The Camerouoonianese military must first prove their worth before expecting us (civilians) to throw our weight behind them.
Now, let us look at this situation together. Here are we in a war zone. Just a few days back, a missionary of foreign nationality was killed. The military-led us to understand that there was a follow-up operation, resulting in the killing of five of the assailants/killers; and that mopping-up operations were afoot. Even as I left Bamenda since 1983 after two years of service, I still have dependable memory that the scene of the killing of the foreign missionary is just about ten (10) kilometers from PSS, Nkwen.
Now, the alleged abduction was by ‘armed men’. Reasonably, they could not be less than a dozen, given the number of ‘hostages’ taken, (at least 80), in a war zone. That was in the context of the strict security measures in the war zone that were now added to by the special security measures put in place following the ‘murder’ (assassinate) of the foreign missionary… If the hostages were lead away on foot, it was a large crowd – a multitude of 80 hostages plus the assailants. If they were taken away in vehicles, the curfew was in place, adding to the military checkpoints, and the elevation of the security alert after the killing of the foreign missionary a few days earlier. Above all, a boarding school has several dormitories. How could such a multitude be quietly led away without any security alert by the military in a war zone or any alert whatsoever by the other students? Worse still, all this in a war zone without any military intervention or interception?
It means, in essence, then, that a dozen enemy combatants could have gotten to the military command center undetected; and safely made away with eighty ‘military’ prisoners of war in a war zone UNDETECTED! Not so FUNNY, arh beg! And for this to come from the mouth of the military is really DISTURBING, and sounds inimical to the sustaining of the morale of our combatant soldiers!
All in all, then, the outing of the military has adversely affected their reputation by reason of their own utterances; and the resultant cloud over their involvement is now far more difficult to clear. To rebuild confidence, then, the first step appears to be an in-house cleansing by the military themselves.
That, one should like to think, is inevitable.
TELL US A DIFFERENT STORY, PLEASE!
Ayah Paul Abine