Bamenda (National Times)-The locality of Esu, Menchum Division, North West Region of Cameroon remains in despair after clashes between security forces and gunmen believed to be separatists fighters left at least 12 persons dead, over one hundred houses burnt amid unconfirmed military casualties in the weekend spanning June 7 to 9.
Crossfire which erupted within the context of the war against separatists’ has provoked a mass escape of locals into the forests for fear of being killed. In the wake of outrage over the developments, neither the military nor the separatists have claimed responsibility for the killings and burning of homes.
Beyond the destruction of homes, food crops and livestock have been destroyed across the locality on a massive scale. There are also cases of looting reported on property.
Some locals continue to accuse the security forces of having committed excesses in their crusade against separatists. Yet government has maintained throughout the conflict that, the military has largely been professional in the discharge of its duties.
In the meantime, locals have been battling to bury those killed in the crossfire. Among those identified to have been killed in the wake of the shootout are; Nong Tah, Mih Valentine, Fuh Godwill, Tem Meh Ivo, Kelly Kevin, Roger Meh,Alang Adre,Meh Kum, Kpwe Eweh, Kang David, Adela Chu Buh and a certain guy called satan.
Within the context of the same battle, there is the reported killing of army lieutenant Dang Messing of the Airborne Battalion (BTAP). Messing is reported to have fallen in battle on Sunday June 9 in Esu. The military high command is yet to confirm the casualty.
Esu located within Fogum Sub Division in Menchum has recorded repeated clashes since the ongoing conflict turned deadly.
This weekend’s developments comes after a group of Akuh and Housa youths went on rampage in Wum last week setting homes ablaze. Two palaces were equally burnt in what protesters claim was a retaliation against separatists’ fighters.
At the origin of the Wum clashes was the killing of a Muslim leader Alhadji Dere. Days after the fury, media reports emerged that, Dere’s son connived with some military men to kill him in order to possess his cattle.