Pro-independence fighters, seeking to restore the independence of the former UN Trust Territory of Southern Cameroons and then rename it Ambazonia, have in the past week engaged in fierce battles over control of a locality called Ndu in the Northwest Region of the Country.
Adamu Shuaibu Ibrahim, Yaounde’s appointed divisional officer for Ndu has been accused of fueling many conflicts in the area since he took over the administrative baton. Some recent decisions by the administrator considered obnoxious by the people have met stiff resistance from Ambazonian pro-independence fighters in the area.
In one of the decisions that angered the pro-independence forces, the divisional officer suspended the activities of commercial motorbikes, an income-generating activity for most jobless youth in the area, and closed two markets in the locality. The local administrator’s decisions were immediately countered by the pro-independence fighters who also banned the circulation of any vehicles in the area and engaged the military in deadly gun battles causing a lockdown down of the whole area.
Pro-independence fighters have also accused the local administrator of fanning inter-village wars, and disputes between the Wimbum community and the Bororos (Fulani herdsmen) which in most cases have resulted in the death of many people with entire villages torched at times.
In another decision which has fueled anger in the area, the local administrator has given an order for people and institutions that own and manage community forests in the area to cut down all the trees because according to him, “the forests serve as hideouts for the pro-independence fighters.”
The local population says the standup between the pro-independence fighters and the local administration is causing untold hardship to the population, as many of them are unable to move from one area to the other.
However, some local government servants in the area, like Mallam Jibril, said “These decisions are to preempt a disaster some of you cannot see now. A decision like this one only comes after some security tips. You are only asking how the inhabitants would transport themselves and goods if bikes are banned, let me ask you how people will move when Ambazonian fighters declare ghost towns and lockdowns? It is a bitter pill, but that pill which will cure an ailment”.
Ambazonian fighters in the area a couple of days ago proceeded to seize car keys from dozens of drivers and used their vehicles to block roads to enforce the indefinite lockdown which they declared. Eyewitness accounts report that when the pro-independence fighters left the scene with the passengers, government soldiers drove in and emptied the stationed cars of their contents before driving away.
Ndu is one of the most hard-hit areas by violence in the region, and many observers say the locality is virtually fallen into the hands of the pro-independence fighters.