|Communication Minister Issa Tchiroma|
TERRORIST ATTACKS IN BAMENDA
INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT BY
H.E. ISSA TCHIROMA BAKARY
MINISTER OF COMMUNICATION
Yaoundé, 22 September 2017
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Within the space of two weeks, terrorists claiming to be armed factions of the secessionist movements in the South-West and North-West Regions, who extensively and methodically premeditated their actions since September 5, 2017 hosted by websites abroad, have implemented their threats.
On 11 September 2017, an explosive device was activated in the town of Bamenda, targeting a patrol of the National Gendarmerie at the place called "Mobil Nkwen".
On 16 September 2017, a Molotov cocktail was directed against a dormitory of the Sacred Heart College in Mankon, still in the city of Bamenda, by two terrorists who had escaped, intended to burn innocent children who were supposed to be in that dormitory. Fortunately, this other terrorist act was perpetrated when the targeted children were praying outside the dormitory.
Nevertheless, substantial damage was recorded, with whole buildings being burnt to ashes. Meanwhile, it is necessary to hail the remarkable solidarity move of the populations, parents and the alumni of this institution, who spontaneously mobilized themselves to make a financial contribution of CFA 12,000,000 francs, for the immediate repair of the burnt buildings.
On Wednesday, September 21, 2017, at 8:30 am, a bomb was activated against a police patrol, at the Hospital Round About, next to the Bamenda Regional Hospital. The firing of the bomb was triggered by an electrical device operated from a mobile phone and two detonators, injuring three elements of the police force. They are Mr ANYE ANDANG Justin, Senior Police Constable, victim of two serious fractures in the arm and one in the tibia; Mr FOKOU Joël and Mr BIAMOU Loïc, both Police Constables, victims of hearing trauma and post-explosive concussions. The victims were immediately placed under intensive medical supervision.
As soon as he was informed of the situation, the Head of State, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and Supreme Commander of the Security Forces, ordered right from New York where he is taking part in the Session of the 72nd General Assembly of the United Nations, that special measures be taken by the Defense and Security Forces, to strengthen the security of persons and property, and that special provisions be put in place so as to ensure greater security for schools 24 hours a day.
Under the coordination of the Governor of the North-West Region, a crisis unit made up of administrative officials and Defence and Security Forces has been set up to assess the situation and implement, under the supervision of government authorities in charge of defense and security, the appropriate measures commensurate to the gravity of the situation.Let me remind that on August 2 and 3, 2017, the services of the Regional Delegation for National Security of the North-West had already, in their control operations, arrested five individuals in the town of Mbengwi, Momo Division in the North-West Region.
The exploitation of these individuals resulted in the seizure of a huge military arsenal comprising semi-automatic firearms, night vision equipment with laser rangefinder, glasses and a shielding fire episcope, bipods and tripods for precision weapons, chargers for sniper rifles, explosive charge containers and explosive charge chemicals, detonator cords, explosive device switches, timers and other equipment for the manufacture of improvised explosive devices and firearms.
The initial results of the investigation launched in this regard established that the members of the commando arrested were preparing to carry out attacks against the Defense and Security Forces, military officials and administrative authorities.
Indeed, at the time of his arrest on August 2 and 3, the commando was planning to storm a police barrier.
It is precisely in this context whereby our Defence of security were being stigmatized by the Amnesty International NGO, in the fight that our country is leading against the Boko Haram terrorist group in the Far-North Region, that another similar NGO – I mean the Committee to Protect Journalists – just published in turn a vitriolic report, qualifying the national legislation applicable to the suppression of terrorism in Cameroon as a mere pretext aiming actually to muzzle the political opposition and intimidate the press in our country.
We can rightly question the simultaneity of such attacks, all the more incomprehensible because they do not correspond to any reality on the ground, with the opening of this second front of terrorist attacks on the national territory.
That notwithstanding, strong measures have already been taken to reinforce security and prevent any destabilization move, wherever it comes from.
The Government is therefore calling on the people to act in this direction and to cooperate fully with our Defense and Security Forces to eradicate this new terrorist peril that leaves no doubt about the reality of its objectives.We are therefore faced with a proper terrorist organization that the entire Nation, united behind its Head, the President of the Republic His Excellency Paul BIYA, will fight by all means until its final extinction.
The Government of the Republic is taking the national and international community as witness, on the turn of events and which require the Government to take its responsibility, in order to ensure the order, peace and security that our populations deserve in order to enjoy their rights and freedoms.
Cameroonians are resolutely committed, behind the President of the Republic, His Excellency Paul BIYA, Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, to leading this just and legitimate battle, which we will surely win; since it is above all a question of preserving the unitary character of the State, which is a fundamental and non-negotiable value enshrined in the Constitution.
Thank you for your kind attention. End..
PS…While investigations are ongoing to find out those responsible for acts of violence, the different Southern Cameroons liberation movements have always accused the Cameroon government of organizing violence as a pretext to further militarise the regions and carry out more arbitrary arrests and killings of minority Southern Cameroonians.