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Buea Mass Arrests Reinforce Ghost Town

By Basil K Mbuye

Government security and defence forces, on March 25, reinforced the ghost town observed on Mondays as they stormed some localities in Buea arresting people indiscriminately.

The forces arrested Buea denizens in neighbourhoods in Bonduma, Great Soppo among others, who they ordered into their trucks at gun point. In some localities they arrested young men were not in possession of national identity cards, but in others they arrested both those with or without national ID.

Around the Biaka Residence in Bonduma, boys who were playing football were arrested by the security forces.

In the Bonduma neighbourhood, all people found at a popular drinking spot rounded up for detention. Some paid various amounts of money to be set free.

In some localities, they forced doors open and asked people to produce receipts for television sets and other electronics.

In some parts of Great Soppo, they searched homes especially under the beds. Some young men, in whose rooms marijuana was found, were arrested and taken into detention.

In the Street Two neighbourhood, a young man trying to resist arrest while presenting his national identity card was made to succumb after a security officer fired shots in the air.

The security team made up of police, gendarmes and army demanded FCFA 25,000 from the citizens who were arrested in their neighbourhoods and exchange for release.

It is alleged that the operation was carried out because the authorities suspected that separatists forces are living in these localities.

The harassment by security and defence forces on Mondays has instead reinforced the ghost town phenomenon in the Anglophone Regions of the country. People rather stay home now as they are scared of being arrested by the security forces and asked to pay at least FCFA 25,000 for their release. Some inhabitants, for of the fear of the unknown, prefer to travel out of the Region and only return on Tuesdays.

Earlier, on Sunday, March 24, a trailer was set ablaze by unknown men at the La Fresheur Junction in Mile 16. The public is asking where the security and defence forces, who are permanently at Mile 16, were. About 150 metres from the spot towards Mile 17, there is a small BIR camp, while, about 150 metres towards Mutengene from the spot, there is a control post manned by police, gendarmes and the army.

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