Buea , capital city of Cameroon’s trouble-hit South West Region is losing its population to neighbouring cities across the country following a separatists scare three weeks away from October 1.
October 1 remains a controversial day across Anglophone Cameroon as separatists have always used it to propagate their quest for self independence.
Viral online messages and mobile text messages have been circulating among Buea inhabitants. The anonymous messages threaten the people to either support the “struggle” or to stock food ahead of October 1.
On October 1st , 2017, scores of protesters were reportedly killed as thousands emptied to the streets in celebration of what separatists termed was independence day.
Many families across the two regions are still living the scars of last October 1. Some are becoming nostalgic as the day approaches. The mere mention of the day October 1 leaves some disturbed for fear of the unknown.
Reports of an alleged mass grave discovered in Mile 16 within Buea municipality weeks after the street protests are being revisited. Back then, many young men were feared killed and buried in mass graves. The fear of such developments is now enhancing the quest to relocate irrespective of the source of the rumour.
Recent incessant gun battles in Buea neighbourhoods between security forces and gunmen believed to Pro-independence fighters has triggered emergency transfers.
In the last two days the damages on property, business and social cohesion has been severe.
Untold economic hardship and deprivation of people’s sources of livelihoods are on a daily basis.
Buea has lost its colonial and contemporary beauty to war scenes. A day now hardly passes without gunshots, abandoned corpses on the road and the setting ablaze of businesses and cars within Fako Division, localities such as Munyenge, Muyuka, Meanja, Maoutu, Ekona, Muea, Liongo through Mile 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 to Molyko.
Others such as Bokova, Bova, Bonakanda, Bwassa, Bwitingi, Great Soppo, Small Soppo, Tole, Wotutu, Bonjongo are already deserted.
Some neighbouring towns like Limbe, Tiko and Douala, continue to swell with internally displaced persons from Buea.
On Tuesday September 11, coincident confrontations at Mile 16, Muea and Tole strengthened the anxiety among denizens to relocate.
Around 3:00AM, the Mile 17 Motor park was beaming. Commuters fumbled alongside their belongings scrambling to purchase tickets. Popular destinations are Douala, Baffousam and Yaoundé.
Scenes of nursing mothers, pregnant women, young men, women and children below 15 years of age were spontaneous.
Observers have expressed fear that, the current scare shredding Buea will sap the Anglophone regions of hopes of triggering school resumption. A few schools in Buea have been operational but since this week, gun battles have scared everyone.