Cameroon: Three IED Explosions Leave 20 Civilians, Athletes Wounded

By Boris Esono Nwenfor & Sonita Ngunyi Nwohtazie

Athletes caught by an IED during the 28th edition of the Mt Cameroon Race of Hope in Buea on February 25

Buea (February 26) – Twenty (20) civilians, including athletes who took part in the 50th anniversary of the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope are undergoing treatment at the Buea Regional Hospital, after three explosions rubbed the yearly celebration of endurance, and grit in Buea on Saturday, February 25.

For the first time, some 600 athletes participated in the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope which was in its 28th edition. Including Cameroon, athletes from 14 countries took part such as Kenya, Ethiopia, France, Morocco, the USA, Nigeria and others.

But, things were almost brought to a halt after the first Improvised Explosive Devices, IEDs, went off, just about ten minutes before the kick-off of the race at the Molyko Omnsiport Stadium, the first being around the Biaka entrance. The two others occurred around Great Soppo Market, and Bonduma, with the explosion in Bonduma, injuring many civilians, including a local football player.

The youngest person affected following the explosion was a one year and six months old child, according to medical personnel

We received twenty persons, with the youngest being one year and six months. There are three children amongst those injured including two athletes, one from Cameroon and the other from Gabon,” Dr Martin Mokake, Director of the Buea Regional Hospital told Pan African Visions. “At the moment, we have also seen injuries that are related to visual injuries and chemical burns, and we have three such patients.

The armed wing of Ambazonia Governing Council, one of the separatist militia groups, claimed responsibility for the blasts. “Our primary target was the Cameroon elite forces… that were providing security for the athletes. We will not allow Cameroon to continue its occupation,” the group’s spokesperson Capo Daniel told Reuters.

Visiting those injured, Professor Narcisse Mouelle Kombi, Cameroon’s Minister of Sports and Physical Education said all the injured persons will be taken care of, indicating that the bills incurred in the treatment will be taken care of by the government.

“We have received strict instructions from hierarchy, right from the Minister of Public Health, to give them free care, which will go right up to when they are discharged and even follow up,” Dr Martin Mokake added.

Despite the explosions, the race continued without any further issues, though some athletes thought about giving up but were persuaded by the cheering population who had turned out in their numbers to encourage the athletes despite the “ghost town.” Athletes from the North West Region carried the day yet again like they have been doing for the past ten years or so. Tata Carine, continued her dominance in the female category by emerging champion yet again in 2023, her fifth title. There was a new face in the male category with Adamu Issa Buba picking up the champion medal.


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