The Rapid Intervention Battalion, best known in its French acronym as the BIR, has now resorted to throwing tracts with messages calling on people to open their shops and sell in the markets on Mondays.
“Ghost towns on Monday’s (Mondays) are not profitable to the population. Your safety and security is assured. Open your shops and come to the market next Monday.” Is the message etched on the tracks that are being thrown around in Buea, capital of the Southwest Region, by elements of the BIR elite force.
The tracts distributed by BIR on Sunday, July 15, come exactly a week after the initiative was started with their calls of Monday, July 9, having fallen on deaf ears as the town was locked down with the massive respect of ghost town.
The action of the BIR is coming after several actors, including local Government officials, State representatives and even traditional rulers and ‘elite’ have carried out similar campaigns, all ending in failure as the ghost town phenomenon continues to gain grounds especially recently.
In Buea, the BIR tract campaign targets areas like Muea, Mile 16 and others where ghost town adherence is rife. In Muea, the BIR drive by on market days when they throw the tracts.
The idea of spreading tracts was originally initiated at the start of the crisis by pro-federalism sympathisers who urged the population to adopt civil disobedience following the violent crackdown on peaceful protests across Anglophone Cameroon. Those who were caught distributing the tracks were arrested, tortured and imprisoned.
After failing to quell the civil disobedience adherence through promises and campaigns, the Government has elected to use its BIR force, to employ the method activists used to introduce the phenomenon, in fighting it.
Though it is early to conclude, it is doubtful whether the strategy will work, given that the first experience, against July 9, was a total failure.
The Post Newspaper