By Andrew Nsoseka
The population of Bamenda, in Cameroon’s North West region is still to come to terms with the killing of a primary school pupil, allegedly by a police officer who opened fire on a fleeing car, and in the process, shot a seven-year old girl, identified as Brandy Tataw.
She was shot as she walked home on Friday November 11, 2021, in the afternoon. The officer who fired the gun, on realising what he had done, ran away alongside his colleagues who were stationed at the control post.
The killing of the primary school pupil flared up tempers in the Northwest regional headquarters, prompting the locals to start an impromptu protest march with the corpse of the young girl.
Locals picked up the remains of the girls, and marched with it from New Road Nkwen, right to the regional Governor’s office. While there, the governor promised that investigations have been opened to ascertain whether it was a bullet from the accused police officer that killed the school child. He also told the protesters that the officer who fired the shots has been remanded in custody.
“Investigations are going on, to confirm the real reason (cause) of her demise. But I want to reassure you people that the author of the gunshot, the police man has already been remanded in custody. After the investigations, he will be sanctioned, if it is confirmed after the autopsy, that it was his gunshot that killed that young girl coming back from school.” Governor Adolf Lele L’afrique told journalists and protesters.
He said President Biya had called him to extend his condolence to the bereaved family, and to also ensure that the killed school pupil is given a befitting burial.
The incident in Bamenda came just weeks after another similar incident in Buea, Southwest regional capital of Cameroon. In Buea, a Gendarme officer, Mvogo Rigobert opened fire on a vehicle that was carrying school pupils and their mother to school that morning, on October 14. The incident in Buea resulted in the death of a six year-old primary school pupil Caroluise Enondiale. An angry mob proceeded to administer mob justice on the Gendarmerie Officer who fired the gun, killing him too.
Incidents of unwarranted killings in Anglophone regions of Cameroon where government and separatist fighters are battling for supremacy have become common, with civilians paying the highest price. Though the population has become numb to killings of elderly persons, that of kids has often seen wide condemnations in places where the population can still speak up.
In Bamenda, the protesters who went marching were faced by soldiers who fired several gunshots to deter the population from protesting. The angry population proceeded to mount road barricades, and set tires and other flammable items ablaze on roads.