Cameroon military says it has restored security on an important trade road between western Cameroon and Nigeria. This week, the military said it had killed at least 13 separatist fighters who blocked the Bamenda-Enugu Road for two months and were demanding illegal tolls. The rebels denied it was their fighters and blamed other armed groups.
General Valere Nka, commander of Cameroonian forces fighting separatists in the English-speaking North West region, said his troops had destroyed several camps along the road linking the Cameroonian town of Bamenda to Enugu in Nigeria. Nka said the four-day battle ended Wednesday night.
Nka further said the battle lasted four days and left at least 13 rebels dead. Also, many locally made guns, explosive devices, pistols, vehicles, motorcycles, hard drugs and a machine gun that was seized from the Cameroonian military by rebels a year ago had been taken from the separatists. He appreciated the professionalism of his troops, even though one of them was killed and another wounded.
Nka said Cameroon and Nigerian traders had complained to him a month ago that they were no longer safe on the road. After this week’s attacks on rebel camps, Nka assured civilians that security had been restored. He also advised traders and travelers to report any suspicious movements and cooperate with the military.
A Traders Experience on the Bamenda-Enugu Road
Jude Chukudi, a trader who buys motor parts and electronics in Nigeria to sell in Cameroon, said he was still reluctant to use the road. Chukudi had previously been abducted from Bamenda by armed men on May 17. His goods, worth an estimated $30,000, were taken and have not been found.
“They were asking for a ransom of 5 million francs [$8,600]. I had to plead and finally, I called my relations and they raised 500,000 francs that the fighters took it. It was a very traumatizing experience and as I speak right now, I feel very unsafe. You do not know if some of them can trail you right up to the urban centres. But they can still trace you out,” he said.
Chukudi said he was afraid the armed men might still be hunting for him because he reported them to the military.
Cameroon’s 25 million people depend on Nigeria for 70% of their basic commodities. Also, Nigeria’s 160 million people count on Cameroon for rice, corn, tubers, plantain, cocoa, tomatoes and other farm produce.