By Cynthia Bih
The government has stepped up a manhunt for the perpetrators and the masterminds of the bomb explosion in Buea on February 25, 2023 during this year’s edition of the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope.
Security sources say intelligence reports they have gotten indicate that separatist activists living in the United Kingdom and the United States of America are alleged to be the masterminds behind the bomb explosion that injured athletes and spectators, with one of the injured later dying in hospital.
Among those accused for masterminding the bomb explosion are Ayamba Cho, Mark Barata, Samuel Ikome Sako, Chris Anu and Eric Tataw who are all promoters and sympathisers of separatist activities in the Anglophone regions. They are said to have planned and sponsored the Buea bomb explosion, for the operation to be carried out by separatist fighters on the ground.
Meanwhile other sympathizers and promoters of the Anglophone crisis have been identified by the Cameroon government in the UK and USA. It is alleged that the names of Ebai John, Mboh Evans Suh, Eric Ateh, Dr. Winnie Lobati, Emmanuel Muzang, Dr. Martin Mungwa and Dr Ebenezer Akwanga are in the government book as those fueling the crisis back home.
It should be recalled that as the race went underway, multiple short explosions occurred along the track and left 19 athletes including spectators wounded.
The wounded were treated for blast injuries.
The armed wing of Ambazonia Governing Council, one of the separatist armed groups in the region, later claimed responsibility for the blasts.
One of the injured spectators, Ndi Linda, later died at the Buea Regional Hospital on February 28, 2023, three days after she and her three children were hit by one of the three explosives that detonated during the race.
The 529 race participants included local runners as well as athletes from East, Central and Northern Africa and France. They were running up the highest mountain in West and Central Africa as they competed in the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope.
Meanwhile, weeks after the explosion during the race, two University of Buea students, accused of being separatist fighters, were on March 15, 2023, killed in Muea, Buea, and their bodies paraded on the streets.
Mboh Akua and Ngule Linus, both students of University of Buea, were forcefully captured from their student residential homes by government soldiers, who labelled them as Ambazonia separatist fighters.
Their lifeless bodies were later dropped at a public spot next to the Muea slaughterhouse.
Heading the military attack group was the notorious traditional ruler and military officer, John Ewome, popularly known as Moja Moja, who was captured on video trampling on both corpses and sending warning messages to inhabitants.
But the government has since stayed silent after the act, even when it appears the controversial Moja Moja may have killed the wrong people
Ngule, on his social media handles, had repeatedly made posts about being a peace crusader and calling himself a “lecturer for peace”. It is therefore unlikely that he was a separatist fighter.
Reacting to the killing, human rights lawyer, Barrister Felix Nkongho Agbor Balla wrote: “Ngule Linus and Mbo Giress, two young male students from the University of Buea were taken away from their student residential homes ‘mini cite’ in Molyko by two plain clothes officers and carried away in a white hilux. Ngule Linus studying International Relations was later found dead (16 March 2023) and his corpse deposited at the Buea Mortuary”.
Kumba School Massacre
It should also be noted that these same promoters and sympathizers were also mentioned amongst those who engineered the killing of pupils of a school in Kumba, Meme Division of the South West Region in October 2020.
The Kumba school massacre took place at Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy in Kumba.
Around noon on October 24, 2020, men in civilian clothing arrived on motorcycles and stormed the school. With machetes and guns, they killed seven children and injured another 13. Some children were also injured when they jumped from windows to escape.
The dead children were all between 12 and 14 years old.
No one claimed responsibility for the attack. Local authorities blamed Ambazonia separatists, while the government and separatist movements accused each other. The government said that around 10 separatist fighters had carried out the massacre.
If arrested for being accused as having been involved in the planning of the aforementioned attacks, they will be tried in a military tribunal, under the anti-terrorism law, whose maximum punishment is the death penalty. That is if they are not killed outright, like many others who have been victims of extrajudicial killings.
It is also worth noting that due to the Anglophone crisis, many people, both civilians and security forces, have been killed, many more internally displaced, wholse villages razed, and over 30,000 persons have fled to neighbouring Nigeria, where they are living as refugees.
While the Anglophone crisis continues to escalate, international organisations and other western powers have called on the government to address the root cause and resolve the issue through genuine dialogue with third-party mediation.