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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Ambazonia: The realities of the ordeal of young soldiers at war front

Tuesday, August 28, 2018, Mr. Ahanda is invited to the funeral parade in the morgue of the military garrison of Yaoundé for the identification of the body of his son, shot in Manfé, in front of the war against the English separatists. In front of him lies the body of a young man: his son Stéphane Ahanda. The multiple bandages show that he took some shots in the abdomen. A frail physicist, only 23 years old, the young gendarme that you see on the photo opposite, was shot at close range. The tears of Stephanie, her 4-year-old daughter, reason outside and put the pain back in the hearts of the family drowned in the sorrow of the waste of life in their youth.

On August 15, 2018, the day of the Assumption Day, the young constable called his family for the last time to announce that his life became hell and was going to explode in full flight. With a thread of voice expressing fear, the throes of suffering deep in his bowels, he confessed to his older sister:? We have not received a food ration for four days, and I have not eaten anything? Above all, he was bruised to have seen his best friend shot in front of him and was convinced that his turn was not going to delay, for lack of minimal equipment for his safety:? We have no more ammunition, and we have to hide to escape the Ambazonians. There are not enough bulletproof vests. We young people who roam the field, do not have any?

Two days later, a video posted on social networks shows an attack by English-speaking separatists against a few gendarmes who have erected a control barrier to Mamfe. One element of the security forces collapses: Serges Ahanda. Not only does the truck that serves as an ambulance arrive late, is not equipped with any device for basic relief, but the Mamfe hospital, point of care, or appropriate technical platform. It must be evacuated to Douala or Yaounde, but the Cameroonian state has no money to spend on subordinate soldiers serving only cannon fodder. No caregiver takes the trouble to inform the family that Stéphane is in a critical situation or to announce his death. It was thanks to his colleague that the family was made aware of the tragedy.

On 23 August 2018, Hassana Alioum of the 53rd Motorized Infantry, also aged 23, is shot in Wum, still in the North West region. A day before that, eight members of the defense forces had also perished, without a helmet or bulletproof.

Cloîtrés in their air-conditioned offices, gentrified by misappropriated bonuses, senior officers of the Cameroonian army, when they do not leave young gendarmes and hungry soldiers, offers them food pigs and send them to sacrifice to the front of an implacable guerrilla where the enemy is lurking in the shadows and rises to shoot at large on targets in uniform without helmets, bulletproof vests, without ammunition.

After his bachelor's degree and his studies at the University of Soa, Stéphane Ahanda had to resolve to go to apply with the CEPE or BEPC level in the only profession where the Cameroonian State recruits the sons of those who are not dignitaries of the diet: the cannon fodder. In three years, he was assigned to the fronts of the great dangers: RCA, Boko Haram, war in the North West. And all these missions impossible for 100,000 FCFA (about 150 euros per month). As a death benefit, the Cameroonian State proposes to pay to the families of the victims of the war 1, 2 million FCFA, exactly the same sum which one proposed to the families of the victims of the Eseka train accident. This means that in Cameroon, a soldier who died for his homeland is an equivalent to a death by accident. No autopsy, or even a certificate of the kind of death are issued. Families are even prohibited from filming bodies or posting photos on social media. In fact, it is a concealment of evidence to never claim compensation from the state.

Hasana Alioum, born on July 17, 1995, was killed just one year after joining the army in 2017. Serge Ahanda, born February 21, 1995, was killed four months after being posted to the North-West Front for alibis. of patriotic war. Two lives sacrificed at 23 years old. Meanwhile, 23-year-old Junior Paul Biya, born on June 22, 1995, had the support of ENAM without ever having obtained a university degree, and will never go to die at war just like the sons of the ministers and dignitaries of the diet. Moreover, since the soldiers die every day in the war against the anglophones, Paul Biya has just launched on 27 August 2018, the recruitment of 2600 commandos ready to go to die for 30 000 FCFA per month. The candidatures of cannon fodder are already pouring in. As Oscar Wilde said:? the tragedies of others are hopelessly banal?