By Atemnkeng Solange
AmbaNews 24 Correspondent, Douala Cameroun
The Cameroun Minister of Defense, Joseph Betti Assomo, has gone on a media offensive to justify the killing of civilians, and the extensive destruction of property including the burning of houses, a local church, a community health center, cars and the killing of livestock by its military in the village of Alachu, Mankon on May 15, 2019. This action by the Cameroun military has been described by observers as a defiant response by the government in Yaounde to the recent calls by members of the UN security Council last May 13 for the root causes of the ongoing crisis in Ambazonia to be resolved
In his Press Release No. 103565/CRP/MINDEF/01 of May 16, 2019, Assomo said the counter-offensive action was in retaliation for the killing of two Cameroun soldiers by Ambazonia pro-independence fighters.
Although there has been no official tally on the damage suffered, the Minister’s press release said the government of Cameroun was going to create a commission to assess the total damage suffered, for possible compensation. Yet it has been heart wrenching and devastating for the local population of Alachu because of the share scale of the destruction.
One resident of the community told AmbaNews24 through a WhatsApp chat yesterday that he is certain that their community was targeted by Cameroun because the Cameroun military believed that secessionist fighters were hiding in the community.
Reacting to the decision by Cameroun’s governor in Bamenda, Lele L’Afrique Tchoffo, to set up a commission to evaluate property damaged at the three villages of Muwachu, Alachu and Matsam all in Mankom that were badly affected by the attacks, Monica Chenjo whose house was destroyed, described the decision as “a slab on our faces”. Speaking to AmbaNews24, she said, “This colonial governor, the so-called Minister of Defense and this whole Cameroun government think they can keep their own properties safe while coming here to destroy ours; enough is enough!” She went further that these destructions do justify to anyone who is still doubting why we can never live again with Cameroun. On her part, Catherine E. Etchi, a Christian who attends the Baptist Church that was burnt down cried out, “They burn even the house of God and place of prayer – The Cameroun regime is now fighting against Christians and burning down Churches. We have reached the point of no return!” She exclaimed.
These destructions are occurring barely two days after the UN Security Council held an arria formula meeting during which member states including the USA, Germany, European Union, Dominican Republic, , Britain, France, Indonesia, Russia, Belgium and humanitarian organizations such as the Norwegian Refugee Council, the Catholic Caritas Bamenda all condemned and demanded an end to the violation of international humanitarian laws and human rights in Cameroun.