By Eric Tataw – Washington DC, USA, Friday, January 17, 2020.
Many shops and business complexes, including private residences, have been destroyed in some cases burnt down in Bali Nyonga, a roadside settlement in Cameroon’s Mezam Division, in the country’s restive North West, National Telegraph has confirmed.
On-the-spot reports say elements of the Cameroon military stormed Nchi Njaws quarter behind the court, the precise location of the shops in Bali Nyonga and started the salvage, Friday, January 17, 2020.
Mbatmandet and Boh Etoma quarters were also seriously attacked and many houses burnt down. The soldiers were looking dreadful and showed “no mercy” on occupants of the shops and residences, an eyewitness said.
My residence was destroyed, said another source. Soldiers didn’t only destroy the shops but also looted and loaded their trucks with civilians’ goods and chattels, locals say.
Many have fled their homes, describing the raid as the most brutal on the community in 2020. This area is considered a stronghold of rebels in the country’s North West.
The Central African country is in its third year of armed conflict in the country’s English-speaking regions of the North West and South West after a declaration of independence by Sisiku Ayuk Tabe Julius, referred to as President of Ambazonia, the new state rebels are battling to establish.
At least, 14000 people have so far been killed in battles and military raids with over 400 villages burnt down. Thousands are held across various detention facilities, including Ayuk Tabe and nine others sentenced for life. Over two million remain displaced as refugees and IDPs.
President Paul Biya called for a National Dialogue, late 2019, to resolve the crisis but ended up politicizing it, political pundits say, adding it was totally boycotted by the rebels. The 86-year-old dictator has now vowed in his New Year’s televised address to his country to crush separatists, referring to those fighting to establish Ambazonia.