Tuesday, 27 December 2016 – Representatives of Southern Cameroonian teachers have finally walked out of one of two meetings convened Tuesday to discuss possible solutions to strikes that have paralyzed courts and closed schools all across the former British Southern Cameroons.
The teachers were briefly held hostage and prevented from leaving the hall where the meeting was holding in Bamenda, capital of the North West Region of Southern Cameroons.
For several hours, the situation remained extremely fluid and fast-moving, with news breaking, fast and furious every few minutes, thanks to participants, citizen journalists and observers posting instant messaging and constant updates on social media.
On one posting, a citizen journalist noted: “Prof. Ghogomu and his delegation from Yaounde take teachers hostage… insist they must work with them”. The update cited an SMS message from Wilfred Tassang, one of the leaders of the teachers’ unions, writing from the meeting hall in Bamenda to let the world know that he and other teachers had been “forcefully locked in the hall as they attempted to stage a walkout”.
Informed of the unfolding situation at the Bamenda meeting, one of the leaders of the lawyers, Barrister Felix Agbor Nkongho, who was attending the other meeting in Yaounde, capital of La Republique du Cameroun (LRC), fired off an update on social media, putting on blast, an SMS he had received from one of the teachers held hostage.
“We have been locked in the hall as we attempted to walk out,” the SMS read in part. “We have been taken hostage. Fame Ndongo is presently insulting us with lies. When he finishes, we shall attempt to forcefully walk out”.
In an interview posted on social media, Wilfred Tassang said he and the other teachers had been held hostage for a total of four hours.
The teachers’ leader slammed the ad-hoc committee constituted by the colonial Government of LRC without consulting with the teachers, for being bias against teachers of the South West Region (with fewer representatives), charging that LRC is intentionally trying to paint the matter as “a North West issue” and struggling to show teachers from the North West Region as the troublemakers.
A second demand from the teachers is for all the mostly “young people who were arrested and detained, or kidnapped and detained – we hear some are dead – the community wants that the children be released (brought back)” and the corpses of those killed in detention or “disappeared” brought back “before we can get into any discussions”.
The Douala-based Radio Equinoxe aired reports in its early afternoon English language newscasts outlining the main areas of disagreement between the striking teachers and lawyers and the colonial government of LRC.
Ahead of the meeting in Bamenda, LRC heavily militarized the town and, for no apparent reason, the colonial Governor of the North West Region gave orders to cut off circulation from 4am to 6pm on the miserable dirt road that is the only link ferrying travelers and goods from the towns of Nkambe, Kumbo, Jakiri, Ndop and Bambili into Bamenda town. According to reports, thousands of travelers have been stranded, including patients who were being rushed for medical attention in hospitals.
Before the above article, here is what came on the wire as it happened.
It appears there is
Deadlock In Bamenda
The different Teachers’ Unions:
Are DEMANDING INCLUSION OF SOUTH WEST REPRESENTATIVES
Just in: Alert ! Alert! Alert!
Prof Ghogomu and his delegation from Yaounde take teachers hostage at Ayaba, insist they must work with them in the direction they want! In an SMS exchange with Mr. Tassang Wilfred five minutes ago, he told me they were forcefully locked in the hall as they attempted to stage a walkout! Meantime the town is heavily militarized and it is certain the military were brought in to coerce the teachers to call off the strike. Their safety is henceforth doubtful. Source: Witheld
Teachers Trade Union Leaders have finally left the meeting. Tassang submission got Fame Ndongo pissed off who angrily left the meeting also. It is now deadlock. Press conference soon. Personally as far as I am concern, these teachers have now seen what we have been saying. They should maybe hence make the declaration we have been waiting for. Take the hard stance NOW. CREDITS TO : Bara Mark