Courtesy: The Voice Newspaper

The figures are staggering and the pain extremely outrageous.

In just one small community, nearly 800 homes have gone down in flames. The killings are showing no signs of ending soon. Up to 385 civilians have been slaughtered. And these are just the few cases that have been documented in only 19 of the 36 parishes in Kumbo, the divisional headquarter of Bui Division in the North West.

The Diocesan director of communications, Rev, Father Elvis Nsaikila Wanyu Njong, released the detailed report describing the situation as “deteriorating”

Meanwhile the director of the Communications for the Bamenda Ecclesiastical Province has warned that the soldiers committing these atrocities as well as the civilians experiencing same are bound to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorders – a problem which the country is not equipped to handle.

Reverend Father Humphrey Tata Mbuy, Director of Communications in the Diocese of Bamenda in the North West told Randy Joe Sa’ah about the atrocities and abuses they documented.

“The statistics are alarming, and I would at this moment fear to even give them because they can shock every one of us. But I can take the ones that are already online because they were posted online. That is the one from the diocese of Kumbo and these are statistics from 19 out of 36 parishes which are telling us that in the last three months only, 750 houses have been burnt, 250 people have been killed and over 10 000 are internally displaced. These are statistics from that diocese that is indicative of what has happened in a place which was not as hardly hit as Kumba. So, when you put all these together, it is indicative of things that are more frightening. No one wants to soil the image of Cameroon. No one wants to make us look demonic but it’s about time that we turn around and look at ourselves and say if everybody is shouting, something must be making them shout. Can we just sit down and be humble enough to look at what is happening?

QUESTIONS: One would have thought that the heavy military presence here would have been assurances to the population to go about their business, but it sounds to me as though the military in the region is a problem rather than what the ministers are saying – that the military is here to protect the people?

It is very sad, and It will take another generation for people to establish confidence in their military. This is the worst thing that can happen to a country where the population itself starts being afraid of the people who should be protecting them. We were coming out of Church on Holy Thursday and Good Friday in the Cathedral when there was just rampant shooting and there were military people around the Church premises. People who were coming out of church were forced to ran back because of the excessive gun shots. Who provoked it – what was the problem- what was happening? You have all these things repeatedly happening, where you see clearly, houses burnt, villages burnt and people can identify who is burning them, when you see property being looted and people can identify who is looting them, it’s not things that are done in the dark. When a priest is shot and we can see the people who shot him, why do you expect people to still have trust when all these things have repeatedly gone on? When people are molested for no reason, some who don’t even know what is happening.

The Bishops of the Bamenda Ecclesiastical Province once described want is going on as a genocide. Do you still maintain that stance?

What is a genocide- A genocide is when somebody is killed, even if it’s just one person, precisely for not doing anything; because he belongs either to this group or because he belongs to this region. That is what a genocide is. Why are people being killed? When they go into a village in Wum and they are shooting everywhere. Is it that everybody in Wum has suddenly become a terrorist? Has everyone in Nso become a terrorist? I would like anybody to define a genocide and look at what is happening and tell me whether we have genocide or not.

Do you think the government has been responding appropriately to these crises?

If they were responding appropriately, we would not be three years into the crisis. Anywhere on Planet Earth, military response has never ever solved a problem. So, let us not dream that we would be the first people to start on Planet Earth. Nowhere! When you have fought and killed, it is when you sit down and talk that you resolve the problem. And the more you kill innocent people, the more you radicalize their relatives and their sons to join the Amba Boys and to fight against.