Cameroon: Five CDC Workers killed, 44 injured in latest Attack on Workers

By Boris Esono Nwenfor & Sonita Ngunyi Nwohtazie

Workers of the CDC were attacked back in 2019 leaving them with life-long scars. File photo

Five workers working for the Cameroon Development Corporation, CDC – the second biggest employer after the government – have been killed by unknown gunmen, with the motive for the attack still unclear.

The attack took place on Friday, February 10 at about 5:30 pm when unidentified gunmen “attacked a personnel carrier transporting workers of the Banana Group who were returning from work. The incident took place on the stretch of road off the Tiko-Douala Road to the Mondoni Oil Mill,” Franklin Ngoni Njie, CDC General Manager said in a communique released on February 11.

“Five workers were killed, four males and one female. As of 3 pm today, 11 February, 44 workers are receiving treatment at the Tiko Cottage Hospital for various injuries while one severe case has been referred to another health facility for special attention.”

These latest attacks may have been linked to the reported ghost town called by non-state armed groups about the 57th Youth Day celebration across the country. The non-state armed groups had called for a ghost town that was to begin on Friday, February 10 into February 11.

Franklin Ngoni Njie added: “… Investigations by the competent authorities of the state to uncover the identity of the assailants are ongoing.” This is not the first time that a worker of the CDC has been attacked.

Since the Anglophone crisis escalated back in 2017, the CDC workers and those of PAMOL have consistently been attacked by unidentified gunmen with others linked to the non-state armed groups. As the fighting persists, many CDC workers have been caught in the crossfire.

No fewer than 20 workers have been killed on and off duty since 2016, according to CDC trade unionists. Others have been exposed to violence as the corporation is unable to provide them with adequate security. Amid the insecurity and unpaid wages, some CDC workers, not keen to wait and see if the precarious situation will ever subside, have fled the country.

This crisis has affected the CDC in several different ways. In 2019, two of its employees were killed, some structures were destroyed and several plantations were closed. Thousands of jobs are also under threat, as the CDC represents the second-largest employer in the country.

“They first shot the driver to immobilize the vehicle. They killed three other workers who were sitting in front before shooting sporadically,” Gabriel Mbene Vefonge, president of the Cameroon Agricultural and Allied Workers Trade Union (CAAWOTU) told Reuters by phone, confirming that five were killed in total.

Barely two weeks into 2022, some 9 workers came face-to-face with death. They were toiling at the Sonne/Likomba Rubber Estate, one of CDC’s rubber plantations near the port town of Tiko in Southwest Cameroon, when gunmen abducted them, despite military protection. The kidnappers, who later claimed to be members of the Ambazonia Revolutionary Guards (one of several armed militia groups fighting to establish an independent, English-speaking state called Ambazonia) held them for 10 days in an undisclosed location.

Before the conflict, the state-run CDC was an important revenue stream for the government. The corporation generated 58.39 billion francs CFA (approximately US$101.8 million) from product sales in 2016, according to CDC officials. But then, protracted fighting between increasingly bold armed separatists and government troops has forced the CDC to grind to a near-halt, seriously eroding the revenue base of the corporation.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button