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Kumbo | Cameroon
Friday, 16 November 2018

Many residents within and around Kumbo woke up on Friday 16 November 2018 with fright and uncertainty. But that is only for those who spent the night sleeping. Several persons are reported to have spent it moving out of town to known or unknown places for safety. Others spent it keeping wake for any eventuality. The gun battle the previous evening had been unexpected, even if had precedents in preceding weeks. It culminated in the burning of several houses at the Kumbo Squares along road N11, allegedly by Cameroon’s defence/security forces

Following the loud sounds from supposedly heavy artillery on Thursday 15 November 2018, Kumbo literally shut down again. Prior to the gunshots on that day, Kumbo and surrounding settlements had experienced close to a week of calm. On account of frequent gun battles between pro-independence fighters and the defence/security forces of the state since the closing days of September 2018, life had come to a standstill. This was coupled with the fact that almost all roads leading out of Kumbo had been blocked by the pro-independence fighters. They did this by either digging long trenches or felling trees across the roads.

As a consequence, social and economic life had frozen. There was equally no movement in most of the area. Within the period from the end of September 2018 till the time of this report, there were prolonged power cuts and mobile network blackouts that made matters worse. Media practitioners have been unable even to verify the many rumours about deaths here and there. However, reports say that many persons have left several of the settlements.

Many of those who have had to leave are person resident around areas where there were trees felled or trenches dug to cut off circulation: such areas have been battlegrounds between the two sides that have been fighting. In some of those places, it has been claimed that the state forces have destroyed homes and personal property.

According to some denizens, Thursday’s incidents were unanticipated. They hoped that life would come back to normal. Due to the roadblocks by the pro-independence fighters, basic commodities have already been reported to be getting out of stock. They said they found it hard to get food to buy. The fighting this Thursday could shut down the area for another stream of days.

Many sectors have been hit by the situation. But the harm in the domain of health is not subject to any calculations. Kumbo is host to health facilities and institutions that bring in sick persons from all around in their hundreds every week. These include the Banso Baptist Hospital (B.B.H.) Kumbo, and the Catholic hospital and Cardiac Centre – the only cardiac centre in the Central African region. The hospitals have also had tough times bringing in medication or referring cases out of Kumbo.

If the relative calm that was experienced, Friday 16 November endures, it can turn the tides. But the thought of the possibility that the bullets the perforated the sturdy stone walls of the Catholic Cathedral Church at the Kumbo Square (as has been the case in other homes and infrastructure) could meet them any time soon, might cause more people to remain locked up indoors, or to flee. That would leave Kumbo a dead town for another while.


Radio Evangelium, Kumbo
[F.M. 100.5 MHz]

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