Cameroon: Three people killed in mass attack

By Shout-Africa Cameroon Correspondent – A gang of armed alleged robbers, purportedly avenging the mob murdering of one of theirs, wreaked the fearful attack on July 11 night before police arrested some of them hours later.

Security men of the Eighth Police District yesterday night arrested a group of at least 10 armed suspected robbers who reportedly stormed the Bilongue neighbourhood in the nation’s economic capital Douala, dashed into several homes killing two persons and wounding several others in what is believed to be vengeance to July 8 mob killing of one of theirs. One person later died in a local hospital July 12.

The security men who drove-in hours later swabbed several people into their dragnet. Information filtering from Judicial Police officers in Bonanjo, where those arrested have been transferred to suggest that the police have laid hands on two rightful suspects of the total already in custody. While some of the people in custody may be released on grounds of their innocence given early interrogations, the two suspects, according to the police, testified that they were in an offensive to avenge the killing of one Augustin (underworld linchpin) said to have been lynched by residents after a purported stolen motorbike was uncovered in his keeping.

Besides those cooling their feet in cell are three Community Vigilantes, among them Nsom Alaifang Henry and Yankam Romeo, who have been placed in temporary custody for security reasons, according Bilongue quarter head and retired soldier, Emmanuel Talla.

The community vigilante set up and financed by the community worked strategically towards the successful recovery of the automobile. “I learned at about 11p.m. Friday that the alleged thief whom I was to convey to the Nylon Gendarmerie Brigade had been lynched,” said the quarter head, while adding “my office and the administration had not finished resolving the matter when the robbers attacked my neighbourhood Monday night at about 9.30.”

According to information gathered, the assailants are reported to have gone amok when their linchpin, Augustin, who also ensured regular supplies of Indian hemp, weapons, and other drugs within the underworld cycle in the city, was lynched.

By noon yesterday, businesses were still deserted while most Bilongue residents stayed behind closed doors. A head of block in whose residence we found pools of blood, Ngasop Abel, said the attackers were armed with machetes, iron rods (some of which are in police custody), maimed five people before facing him. He said the wounds in his head are just a miniature of what happened, many of the people now being attended to in various local health establishments. Many other households with blood taints narrated a similar ordeal.

By every indication, the present incident points to the security loopholes in the country. To say the least, the quarter head disclosed that in spite of informing the police, the Divisional Officer of Douala III, and then the Nylon Gendarmerie all were but reluctant, and their simple response was hesitance. Though informed none turned up forestall the lynching of the said Augustin.

Until this morning, fear waggled through the faces of its inhabitants as neither the police nor gendarmes lingered in the neighbourhood. It is in this light that when this reporter drove into the neighbourhood, the very few eyes that managed to peep from windows looked suspicious at every stranger. Reasons, Bilongue is has number one criminal record of all cities in Cameroon causing fear even to security men, who over the years have cultivated defiance to intervention in any criminal issue of the area. Years of underworld’s open counteroffensive to public authority is popular among security corps.