By Basil K Mbuye
Armed men, Wednesday, March 20, abducted at least 17 University of Buea students, and three other civilians at their football training ground on campus.
The students, who are all football players, were abducted at about 8.15am by armed men who stormed the main campus field known as ‘Wembley Stadium’. According to some of the football players who arrived the scene late, they were sent away by one of the armed men to let the world know the news.
He said some of them arrived late at the training session that morning only to see their teammates being taken away.
Hear him: “While we were still around the School Restaurant coming down, some of us stopped to fetch water while others continued. After fetching the water, as we were going down to the training ground to join other teammates, around the grandstand, we saw our teammates being taken away by about seven men armed with guns.
“One of our teammates, Stanley Fualefac, who was putting on an Indomitable Lions shirt, was asked to remove it. It was at this juncture that one of the armed men who stayed behind asked us to go back and let the world know that our teammates have been abducted. We had to run for our lives when we noticed that this was what was actually going on,” one of the players explained.
Another player gave his own narration which shows that the unknown armed men were already waiting for the UB football players.
“Since today was the day reserved for UB students taking part in the All Varsity Games, the coach asked us to train for an hour, so we could go for accreditation. We were to train from 8.00am to 9.00am and go for the accreditation. So, those who were kidnapped are all those who have submitted their documents and so they went earlier to the training ground. Those kidnapped are about 20 since we are yet to know those that are not around. From the look of things, it shows that the kidnappers were already there waiting for the students to show up for the training session. This is because they came out from different directions; about four came from one direction, while the others came from different directions and surrounded the players. Those of us who were still coming, as we approached the basketball court, we saw how they were taking them towards the Mile 17 direction. This was when one of the armed men at the grandstand ordered us to go back,” he said.
With the University if Buea on holidays, after the first semester, those preparing for the University Games usually use the two weeks break to prepare ahead of the competition. The football boys train in the morning at 8.00am and in the afternoon at 2.00pm. The abductors are suspected to have observed the team’s programme all this while before striking.
The forces of law and order arrived at the scene three hours after the students had been taken away.
In 2018, football players of the Catholic University Sports Academy, CUSA, received a threat from unknown men when they were using the ‘Wembley Stadium’ at UB ahead of the Southwest Mini Interpools tournament. Immediately this happened, their training venue was transferred to the Molyko Omnisport Stadium.
FCFA 4 Million Ransom Demanded
Meanwhile, The Post learnt from authoritative sources in UB that the gunmen have contacted the school administration, demanding FCFA 4 million as ransom for the kidnapped students. Though no official statement has been made, many are hoping that the gunmen will liberate the abducted students.
Accident Saves UB Coach From Abduction
UB Coach, Nicholas Asungu, was involved in a ghastly motor accident on Wednesday, March 20, at around 1.00am. His car knocked a woman who was rushed to the hospital for medical attention. It was due to the accident that Coach Asungu could not make it to the training ground on time. He only received the sad news of the abduction of some of his players in the morning.
Unofficial List Of Students Abducted
Felix Nomen Mbia, William Ojong Ndip, Brandon Barake, Divine Ndi Amaze, Standley Faulefac, Ebong Gliage, David Esung, Samuel Mambingo, Tabi Gingko, Njumewang Enongene, Loic Begafeu Tchaleu, Roger Tayong, Dogmo Kengue Yvan, Desmond Eku, Baldwin Motove, Norbet Ndemax, Francis Tambe.
Families of those abducted arrived at the UB Sports unit crying and asking questions. Some wonder how close to 20 students could be abducted without a trace with military camps in Mile 17, Mile 16 and other areas? Some also asked how such an act could have been committed in Buea, despite the tight security in town, with police, gendarmes and BIR soldiers on constant patrol.
Meantime, no official statement has been made by UB authorities.
First published on The post Newspaper edition no: 01990