The death of two ex-combatants at the Bamenda Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) Centre has been announced. Sanda Justice and Gabe Ekwebo died following an incident at the Ntambag Health Centre in Bamenda, Northwest Region of Cameroon on Sunday, September 26, 2021.
It was expected that the New Coordinator of the DDR Center in Bamenda, Kum Henry, after his appointment to office, would have been received and installed in office by the Governor of the Northwest region, to properly address the files that await him, but this was not the case.
The sad news caused Northwest Governor, Adolphe Lele Lafrique to condole with ex-combatants at the DDR Centre in Bamenda. He expressed grief over what happened. He appealed to mourners to wait on the results of investigations being carried out by the government.
“I would have loved to come here on a happy note. I am coming in a context where we are mourning two ex-combatants who were killed in a situation that is under investigation by the security services. The investigations will explain what happened to hierarchy and the families concerned,” he said.
“The families of the deceased are waiting to give them a befitting burial in Ako. The SDO of Donga Mantung has been able to calm them and reassure them of the government’s commitment to clarify the issue.
We are mourning together, mourning ex-combatants who decided to join the DDR camp and start a new life,” said the Governor of the Northwest region.
Presenting the DDR Center as an instrument in the Peace Building Process, a mechanism put in place by the Head of State, President Paul Biya, the Coordinator of the Centre, Kum Henry said “the presence of the Governor is a testimony of his interest in the center, as part of peacebuilding in the society.”
“Let the DDRC be as a springboard to bring lasting peace in the social degenerating community, ” Kum Henry said.
The Coordinator of the DDR Center in Bamenda revealed some challenges faced and urged the government to address the situation to counter the security challenges faced in the region.
“Increase the number of soldiers on duty here as we are facing a very challenging security situation. Again, the access road to the Centre is not very good and this too needs attention,” Kum Henry added.
A representative of these repentant soldiers spoke on behalf of his peers. He expressed worries of no hope in the future and the feeling of being abandoned by the government.
“We have broken hearts but nevertheless your presence is of great significance. We are happy about the gifts, grateful to the team that has come to condole with us and to give us hope. But we are still worried because irrespective of all the gifts and the support, somehow we are still doubting…”
“We have an objective as a family. DDR was created for a purpose. But the way we feel, it’s like the government has forgotten about us and the purpose for which the DDR was created, which we feel is not being implemented,” an ex-fighter observed.
Symbolic Handover of Gifts
Northwest Governor Adolphe Lele Lafrique handed to the ex-fighters 5 bags of rice, 2 cartoons of hand sanitizers, a carton of Maggi cube, and a token of 400,000 francs.
The Mayor of Bamenda II Council, Chenwi Peter handed the sum of 200,000 francs CFA to the ex-fighters. He made available 5 spaces for recruitment to the ex-fighters as a means of empowering them and promising to give full support to ex-fighters who will register for the GCE Exams 2021/2022.