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Defense Minister denies negligence in Bamenyam attack

Defense Minister denies negligence in Bamenyam attack

Paru le jeudi, 30 novembre 2023 13:10

Earlier today, during the general debate in the National Assembly on two bills ratifying military cooperation agreements with Russia and Great Britain, deputy Joséphine Simo of the CPDM in Bamboutos (Western region) questioned the Minister of Defense on the separatist attack that occurred in Bamenyam on November 21. She claimed that the Defense and Security Forces (FDS) had been warned of the attack, but failed to anticipate it.  

The claim was dismissed by Defense Minister (Mindef) Joseph Beti Assomo. "When you say that the FDS had been warned, were informed but failed to take appropriate measures and let it happen, this was not the case,” he said.  

According to Mindef, "Had the FDS abandoned the population to its fate, two gendarmes wouldn’t have been injured the same day, during the same incident. There were civilian deaths, we acknowledge it. But we also recorded three wounded gendarmes, including one seriously. They were at the market and faced the attack.” 

The Mindef adds that the gendarme seriously injured is currently being taken care of at the regional military hospital in Bafoussam, the capital of the West region.

He nevertheless points to the tense environment that could have facilitated the attack. "We must also consider the tension surrounding the appointment of a traditional chief in the area. In fact, the separatist attack capitalized on a volatile situation already brewing in the community, as tensions were already simmering due to a dispute over the appointment of a chief. The population was already at a heightened state of animosity, and some had even resorted to violence in this incident,” Mindef says. 

He also advises against jumping to conclusions and suggests awaiting the results of the investigation, which has been opened to establish responsibility for the attack on Tuesday, November 21, in Bamenyam.

The said attack occurred at around 10 a.m. on November 21. Separatist militiamen from Balikumbat in the West region raided the local market square, killing nine people and wounding several others (according to government figures). The attack was claimed by Capo Daniel, a separatist leader based abroad.

L.A.

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