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Kwa-Kwa returnees flee as military, gunmen clash again

Dozens of returnees in the village of Kwa-Kwa Bakundu, Meme Division, South West Region of Cameroon, have scurried back into the bushes following renewed military clashes with gunmen early Thursday, August 16, 2018.

The National Times gleaned that gunmen suspected to be separatists fighters surfaced on the Kumba-Mundemba Road axis around Kwa-Kwa Bakundu, conducting controls. It is reported that within the same period, a contingent of security forces on patrol bumped into the gunmen. Sustained gun fire exchange is said to have ensued.

Burnt Kwa-Kwa village

Sounds of gun shots rattling across the village ignited spontaneous escape moves among a few villagers who had mustered the courage to the return to the village. A host of such villagers are said to be living in a few homes far off from the main road.

Sources confirmed to The National Times that after about 30 minutes of gun battles, the gunmen retreated to the unfamiliar. The security forces are said to have progressed further along the same stretch before returning to their base same day.

Thursday’s development could frustrate renewed calls from administrative authorities for those hiding in the bushes to return home. Government through its FCFA 12.7 billion humanitarian aid for displaced persons of the Anglophone Crisis say they should return home and benefit from the support.

Kwa-Kwa Bakundu, a cosmopolitan village, slipped into deadly gun battles in January, 2018. It was here that Chief Johannes Ekebe Niongo of Ngongo-Bakundu was lured and shot dead. Ekebe was piloting the wake keeping without corpse of late Chief Manfred Tukwa of Kwa-Kwa Bakundu.

This happened around midnight of January 12 this year. A few weeks after, both Chiefs were laid to rest void of traditional rites. Gunmen conducted the burials.

Attacks on security forces ensued. Towards the end of January, massive burning of houses was conducted on Kwa-Kwa. A 96-year-old woman popularly known as Mami Happih was reportedly roasted in the process.

Though no group claimed responsibility for the burnings, human right organisations, have accused the Cameroon military of conducting the burning. Since the Kwa-Kwa episode, the burning of villages accentuated with civil society organisations now putting the number of villages razed to over 10.

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