Cameroon: Ekona Women’s Strike Gets More Than 10 Arrested Youths Released
By Ngunyi sonita Nhowtazie
Will it end? This a question that is continuously troubling the population of the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon. It is in this line that groups of women from Ekona, a town in the South West Region protested at the legion office in Buea on February 15, demanding the release of their sons who were forcedly arrested on Sunday 12 February 2023 at about 3 pm at the Ekona football filed.
“We are all tired of this situation and we all need an end to all these types of treatment from our forces of law and order who have decided to continue treating us like animals. We want our children to be released,” the women cry out sing while chanting sorrowful songs.
“Women please give me your ears. I am not happy seeing you all out here crying in this manner. I and the divisional officer for Buea go up the legion to find out what exactly the problem is,” David Mafany, Mayor of Buea tries to calm the women.
After blocking the main highway of Buea from bongo square towards the governor’s office for about an hour, the women say their plight must be heard. With the pressure mounted by the women, about ten (10) of the detained children were released, with more said to be released in the days ahead.
“Since Sunday 12 of February 2023 when we were arrested and locked up, we haven’t eaten. Our parents brought us food but they refused our parents from giving us food, including water,” One of the released youths said.
“We only struggled to eat this morning after which our parents stood out for more than 4 hours on Tuesday, February 14 following the decisions of the gendarmes.”
According to others, no motive was given to them for their arrest. “While in the field we just saw about three military cars that invaded the pitch asking everyone present to get into the car including the referees and linesmen which we all did. While on our way we asked them what our crimes were and where they were taking us too but, no response was given to us. We were about one hundred of us in the cars,” another detainee describes the scene action.
Not satisfied with the release of just 10 of their children, the women continued to protest for more than two hours. “I am disappointed in you all because you have me as your Divisional Officer yet you decided to come and block the roads in Buea,” the divisional officer of Muyuka, Akwo Tanyi reassured the women.
“Nevertheless, we have listened to your complaints and we will try to solve the problem but I am emphasizing on this if there is a suspect amongst the boys arrested in connection with fueling the socio-political crisis in Ekona, he will not be released. Those who are not connected will be free today and not tomorrow.”
“… I have listened to your worries and you all know that I have never disappointed you all but I will plead with you all that this multitude here and blocking the road cannot solve the problem, the last time it happened they were all released right, did I not stand like the focal point for the released? Honourable Findi Stanley reechoed.
“I will take their place in there so that they can join their members outside. So, please everyone should go back home while your children will meet you all there” honourable Findi Stanley cements the doubt of the women.”
The socio-political crisis in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon since 2016 has had untold suffering for civilians. In a crisis that is said to be highly underreported, many atrocities still surface to shock the world. From the raiding of villages, cutting down of food crops, burning down of hundreds of villages, barbaric butchering of people, killing of school children, killing of teachers, kidnappings for ransom, arbitrary arrests and detention, burning of elderly people alive, the people have witnessed enough to leave them traumatised for a lifetime.