Monday, August 27, 2018

Adamaoua: alert, armed gangs back in the region


In the space of three months, more than 150 pastoralists were abducted in the Adamaoua region by heavily armed individuals. At least 200 million CFA francs paid to the kidnappers as ransoms.

On the night of August 12, 2018, armed individuals entered the home of Aladji Awalou, in the district of Martap, department of Vina, Adamawa region. Armed with weapons of war, the criminals will threaten to execute his wife and two children who were trying to launch the alert. After torturing their target, they take the key of the fields and bring with them, Aladji Awalou.

They will give sign of life 24 hours later. In a telephone conversation, the kidnappers ask the victim's family to collect 10 million FCFA in a short time. Otherwise, they will take the life of Aladji Awalou. Since then, his family lives in panic. For fear of reprisals, many villagers left the village. One day, before the abduction of Aladji Awalou, an armed gang had taken in captivity three pastoralists and a shepherd in the village of Tchabbal Chile. Bobbo Djoubairou, 50, Hamidou Nana, 53, Mohamadou Abba 55, and Nassourou, 30, were abducted from their respective homes. Their captors demand the payment of at least 50 million CFA francs for their release. In view of this upsurge in kidnappings, people fear the return of terror in the region of Adamaoua. Faced with this situation, the defense forces are increasing the number of search operations. On the morning of July 29, 2018, an exit from the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR), in the remote areas of the Martap district, resulted in a base that served as a refuge for the hostage takers. After an exchange of heavy fire between the BIR and the kidnappers, four hostages are released. They are Bouba Adama, 66, Aladji Moustapha, 53, Babba Dahirou, 30, and Hassana, a 20-year-old shepherd. Unfortunately, Hamagabdo Hayatou, a 64-year-old breeder, will die.

The hostages were handed over to their families by the military authorities of the region. They say they have been physically abused during their captivity. "When they took me, the first thing they told me was to obey all their orders to stay alive. Whenever I looked at them, they would hit me. They did it several times. I have a lot of pain in my body. They sometimes use their weapons to hit us, "says Hassana, ex-hostage. The gang of criminals consisting of seven people would have taken an unknown destination. According to officials of the 5th Bir Adamaoua, a manhunt is underway. Men scour the localities of Lewa Moussa, Toumbouroum and Martap in order to make up this gang of criminals made up of 7 thugs. BIR elements are on the heels of several armed gangs specializing in hostage-taking with ransom demand. This release of the hostages occurred just days after the release of three other hostages, still in the Vina department. Security sources, at least 50 people are held hostage by armed gangs scattered in remote areas of the Adamaoua region.

The phenomenon of kidnappings has resumed again. It touches more and more the localities of Adamaoua. Late last week, a special operation led by the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) disarmed a gang of three kidnappers. The descent of the military resulted in the recovery of two assault rifles, nine boxes chargers and a hundred ammunition and various other objects.

Globally, between June and August 2018, cases of kidnappings multiplied in the water tower of Cameroon. Work of heavily armed individuals, this insecurity has cost at least 200 million FCFA to the farmers and farmers, in terms of payment of ransoms. The resurgence of kidnappings has plunged agropastoral stakeholders into lethargy. The economy of the region, based on agriculture and livestock is paying a heavy price. To protect themselves from kidnappings with ransom demands, people in remote areas are developing strategies, as well as collaborating with the defense forces. In this dossier, L'Essentiel du Cameroun takes stock of the prevailing situation on the ground and reports, with the help of testimonies from former hostages, the plight of the victims of abuses.

Source: The Essential No. 189