Bamenda (National Times)-Cameroon’s former Secretary of State in Charge of Penitentiary Administration Emmanuel Ngafesson Bantar emerged from the unknown Sunday March 31st after 12 days in the hands of gunmen suspected to be separatists fighters.
Yet, ministers and other supporters of the Biya regime have been recurrent in their declarations that, the current armed conflict in the North West and South West Regions is under control. This has been so and continues to be so despite increasing pressure from the international community prescribing dialogue as the only way out.
Former Secretary of State, Bantar was abducted right in the comfort of his Ntabessi home in Bamenda, the capital city of the North West Region on March 19.
Though a high profile militant of the CPDM party of president Biya, his comrades celebrated the party’s 34th anniversary in Bamenda with not much said about comment on his predicament.
His release Sunday is said to have been possible after the reported payment of an undisclosed amount of money as ransom to gunmen. He is one of the most high profile persons kidnapped since the Anglophone crisis morphed into an armed conflict.
Scores of persons among them administrative authorities, friends, acquaintances and relatives flooded the home of the former member of government at his home showering praises to God for sparing his life.
Before now, security forces had arrested at least four persons in relation to the abduction. These suspects were spotted in the car of Bantar which the gunmen used to carry him in the night of the abduction .Yet it took over one week since that development for the former prisons boss to regain his freedom.
Many view the number of days it took to release the former minister as telling of how bad the crisis has become. Observers fear that, if government could not use its security might and intelligence to quickly free such a high profile personality, then the best way out of the crisis can only be dialogue and not military force.