Security Forces Raid Yaoundé Neighborhoods, arrest many, promise tough times for separatists sympathizers

By Ngwayi Carlos in Yaoundé 

Security forces have raided some neighborhoods in Yaoundé. The raid which targeted the Obili, Biyemasi, Damas and Simbock areas, sources say follows a tipoff to the security that some sympathizers of non-state armed groups fighting the government for the separation of the North West and South West regions were living in the area. 

Prison where most of those arrested are detained 

The raid which occurred at about 8pm on Saturday March 4, 2023, started from the streets as the forces demanded national identity cards from everyone they saw. 

“We were sitting and drinking at Chapel Obili in the evening at about 8pm when a truck carrying many police officers stopped and started doing control. We saw the officers asking ID Cards from people who were just walking on the road and then shortly after they crossed to us as we sat by the door. We were not in the bar.” Nfor Roland an Obili resident explained. 

According to witnesses, it started like a simple and routine patrol before turning violent as the security officers went into the quarter. 

While pointing at a building adding that it belonged to an Anglophone whose name he only remembered as Chi he said “When they left us here and were entering the quarter, they entered that house and not long we saw them removing some people from there and pushing into their truck. I am sure they arrested them to their station.” 

Damstel Neh Chi 

Close to the building, we met one Edoa Marie Claude who explained that the owner of the house was Damstel Neh Chi who had travelled to the United State leaving some internally displaced person in her house. 

“She came back from Sierra Leone where her husband works and informed us that she will be travelling to the US for a short stay. While leaving, some of her brothers and sisters; Anglophones were living in the house. Last evening when the security forces came, they arrested them. I am hearing that they were seen with flags and other items belonging to Ambazonia.” Edoa explained to us in French. “

I am not sure they will be released especially now that this Ambazonia thing is only getting worst by the day.” She said adding “where are those arrested since 2017 when this matter started? Are we even sure they are alive again? She questioned. 

At the Melen Police station, many family members could be seen searching for the relatives and demanding their release. Many of them say their relatives were arrested last evening. There are also lawyers demanding the release of their clients event on bail. 

A furiously looking officer is seen shouting at a group of people sitting on the floor. Those on the floor are the once who were arrested in the night during the raid. The officer is holding a blue and white piece of cloth and some papers. He tells those on the ground “Those of you who are promoting Ambazonians should just forget about living this place. We are moving you from here to where you belong in Kondengui (a dreaded prison in Yaoundé.) You did not know we will get you that is why you were keeping your flag and these documents at home.” The Officer said with an angry tone. 

The officers are not prepared to let anyone go even those whose families have come with ID cards or those who have lawyers. 

“I have been sitting here since morning and no one is ready to talk to me. My husband left the house just to buy something from the road and is now here. I don’t know what to do. I am just confuse.” a woman said in tears 

Back in the neighborhood, many Anglophones are considering parking out because according to them, the raids are targeting only them. 

“I have been living here for more than 13 years and I have received some people who are escaping the crisis in the North West region but for the past three weeks we have not had it easy with security control. They are here every day asking for ID cards arresting and torturing people calling us ambazonians. The worst is when you don’t have an ID and you are speaking English. For the first time, I am thinking I should leave this area.” Kidze Wirkar Justin said in Damas

The regularly raided neighborhoods are hosting thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the North West and South West Region as the result of the over six year’s old armed conflict. While many have been displaced, others have been killed or arrested for sympathizing with the separatist movement. The government has shown very little mercy to those linked to the movement which before now existed as the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC). Many have been arrested and detained with long term sentences include life sentence leaving many traumatized and depressed  

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