Grief and Despair: Cameroon Mourns Pupil Killed on Her Way to School

By Augustine Nyuykongi

Cameroonians have expressed shock and utter disappointment at the assassination of Little Enondiale Carole Louise yesterday in Buea, South West Region.

The 5-year-old was shot on the head by a Gendarme officer at the Bokova road checkpoint as she was being driven to school.

Reports say the incident began when the driver of the car in which little Enondiale Carole Louise was an occupant, denied paying the sum of 500frs in bribe, then drove off. The angry Gendarme officer Pierre Achilles Mvogo, fired gunshots at the car, consequently killing the little girl who sat in the back seat of the car.

An angry population that had witnessed the incident immediately seized the gendarme officer and stoned him to death. The irate crowd paraded the corpse of the deceased girl from the scene of the incident to the South West Region Governor’s office in Buea Town.

Bernard Okalia Bilai, South West Region Governor spoke in anger at what had happened. He told the bitter crowd “all culprits responsible for the death of the girl will pay, no matter their grade.”

“The fight I am in is to see that children can go to school. It is not right that in doing so, a child is killed…” he said.

The Bishop of the Buea Diocese Mgr Michael Bibi joined the angry crowd to protest Carol’s gruesome murder. Bishop Michael Bibi expressed his dissatisfaction with the assassination of the girl and called for the end of the killing of innocent people in the restive Anglophone Regions.

“I feel the pain of the family of the late Carole Louise and those who have lost their loved ones in similar circumstances. I urge the security forces to show more restraint in carrying out security operations that could put at risk the lives of innocent civilians,” a communiqué published by the Bishop of Buea read.

Statement issued by the Bishop of Buea

Human Rights Activists have taken to social media to condemn the act.  

“We condemn the impunity with which the military acted and call on the state to investigate the matter and ensure that the baby is given a befitting burial and the family compensated,” Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor Balla said. The Barrister also condemned the mob justice exerted on the gendarme.

Human rights lawyer and activist Barrister Tamfu Richard criticized the Head of State’s silence over the act. “We have not heard a word from the Head of State, Chief of the Armed Forces and the guarantor of the lives of properties of Cameroonians,” he said in a Facebook post. He said President Paul Biya’s “long silence is provocative and can radicalize further.”

The Former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs of the U.S.A Tibor Nagy also reacted to the chaos in Buea. The Diplomat who has been very vocal on the way authorities handle the crisis blamed the government for normalizing corruption in the country.

“Does anyone doubt the poor child killed in Cameroon by a gendarme was shot because they refused to pay 500 CFA road bribe?  Anyone on the roads of Cameroon comes across “gate power” stops with great frequency.  Shame on a government where corruption flows from all levels and kills!” Tibor Nagy tweeted.

The Head of the Communications Division of the Ministry of Defence Cyrille Serge Atonfack yesterday evening released a controversial press statement concerning what happened in Buea. Colonel Cyrille Serge Atonfack in his statement blamed the driver of the car for the death of the little girl.

According to him, the driver refused to comply with road checks and tried escaping from the scene. The Colonel also claimed that the driver of the car was opposed to her car being searched by the Gendarmes before attempting to flee.

A press released issued by the Defence Ministry

According to MINDEF, the gendarme shot at the vehicle because the driver refused to comply. An investigation would be opened to shed more light and establish more responsibility on the incident, according to the statement.

The conflict in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon is getting into its fifth year. Rights activists warn of a devastating crisis in Cameroon’s western Anglophone regions.

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