Cameroon Government Says it Stepped Up Security After Bombings in Capital City

Cameroon says it has deployed more troops in the capital Yaoundé after yet another bomb exploded, leaving at least 20 people severely wounded. No one has claimed responsibility, but it is suspected that separatists fighting for the creation of an English-speaking state in Cameroon and people who escaped from prison a month ago are responsible.

Naseri Paul Bea, governor of the Central Region, where Yaoundé is located, says he convened a security meeting Friday night because there has been mounting insecurity in the capital city. He says he is calling on the clergy and traditional rulers to help bring peace back to the city.

“I instructed them to control those who sell arms, to include the traditional rulers to be able to know the new people who come into their quarters so that if there is any person who looks strange, they can be able to inform the forces of law and order{military},” said Bea.

The government said on Thursday night, yet another bomb exploded in the Damas neighborhood, severely wounding five people. 15 others with wounds were later discovered in their houses.

Bea says he has information that some prisoners were organizing the attacks from their detention centers.

“Some of the organizers are in the prisons and they have people outside who are doing it {planting the bombs} for them,” said Bea. “I instructed the penitentiary administration to put their ears to the ground to be able to get those information and sensitize the population to know that the security of the country is their own security.”

Bea said the bombs were locally made. It was the third locally made bomb to explode in a popular neighborhood in Yaoundé within two weeks. At least 37 people were wounded in the three explosions. No one has claimed responsibility.

Rights activist Edwin Ayuk of the Cameroon Human Right Center says it is imperative for the government to open negotiations with English speaking separatist leaders who are detained at the Yaoundé-Kondengui prison if they want peace to return. Speaking via a messaging application from the English-speaking northwestern town of Bamenda, he said the government should also investigate the activities of former ministers arrested and detained at the Kondengui prison by Cameroon president Paul Biya for corrupt activities.

“We have been calling on the government to call these individuals, sit with them on the table and let them discuss their differences so that the atrocities that have been going on can come to an end,” said Ayuk.

Innocent Ngono, a peace and development lecturer at the university of Yaoundé says Cameroon should handle the insecurity in its capital city with care since it already has many security challenges.He says if Cameroon has been able to resist the security challenges it has been facing since 2013, it is because the population has supported the military through information sharing. He says he is afraid Cameroonians may now be reluctant to assist the military because the government is not showing serious signs of wanting to solve the crisis the country is facing.

Since 2013 Cameroon’s eastern border has suffered a spillover of the carnage in the Central African Republic with regular intrusions of rebels. Boko Haram terrorism on Cameroons northern border with Nigeria has entered its 10th year with at least 3,000 people killed. A separatist crisis in the English-speaking western regions of the French majority state has left at least 3,000 people dead and 500,000 displaced. The Cameroon military has been deployed to handle border disputes with Equatorial Guinea.

Many civilians say if the attacks on the capital city Yaoundé are not stopped, the military may be overstretched.

 

 

Source: Voice of America

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