The dust is still to settle after the butchering to death of a certain Comfort Tamasam in Muyuka, Southwest Region of Cameroon. The 35-year-old was reportedly butchered by Separatist Fighters on the basis of her collaborating with the Cameroon Military.
Cameroon’s Minister of territorial administration, Paul Atanga Nji recently issued a ban on the sale and and purchase of rudimentary tools in the crisis stricken Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon, ranging from machetes, axes as well as iron rods. The decision according to the minister came from the understanding that Separatists Fighters have been using these tools to commit atrocities on civilians.
Governors and local administrators of these region are to ensure that no rudimentary tool placed under this ban are bought without the buyer giving concrete reasons for the purchase. These administrators are also expected to establish a database of existing stock of rudimentary tools on sale in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon.
Those who will be caught selling or buying these tools without going through the administrative procedure as prescribed by Cameroon’s minister of territorial administration will be considered as terrorists and thus will be treated as such.
Barrister Nkangwa Limen speaking to Cameroon based Equinoxe TV described the decision of the minister as a piece of “nonsense”. He views the decision as counter productive. Barrister Nkemgwa questions how possible will it be for people doing construction works in villages to get building permits. He also laments that farmers who depend on machetes and other rudimentary tools will will suffer a lot given that majority of the populace of the crisis affected regions depend on agriculture for survival. However, the learned barrister acknowledged that the government has the right to protect her citizens but warns that the decision will create more violence than was obtained before the ban. “What happens to those who own Machetes now”, the barrister questioned.
Barrister Achu Julius on his part thinks that the minister’s ban on these rudimentary tools is timely and should be lauded by every Cameroonians of good will. According to Barrister Achu, the armed Separatists use machetes and other rudimentary tools to cause a lot of havoc on civilians. He insists that Separatist Fighters use iron rods to fabricate bullets to fight the Cameroon military.
Civilians continue to pay the prize
A majority of the inhabitants of the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon, about 80% depend on agriculture, mostly subsistence, for their livelihoods. They make use of rudimentary tools such as machetes and hoes to clear and till their farms. “I am a farmer and I wonder how this type of decision will work, the crime of one person should not attract collective punishment. How does the Cameroon government expect us to take permission before buying our work tools? Isn’t that silly? I am just confused right now, we are hit by the crisis, coronavirus and the government has added salt to the wound that even shows no signs of healing, the government of Cameroon is not serious, the solution to the crisis in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon is through dialogue not banning of machetes axes, and iron rods”,a farmer in Buea said to Cameroon Humanitarian News on the bases of anonymity. While many construction works may not be going on in the crisis affected areas of the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon, the ban on the buying and selling of rods for example without prior permission from the government is not only worrying but violets the right to shelter according to some observers. How do people in typical villages get building permits as the decision requires before proceeding in purchasing iron rods for their “to be constructed houses”