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Panic grips Buea as soldiers battle separatists

Deserted streets of Mile 18 in Buea (c)All rights reserved

Fear and consternation has gripped the population of Buea, especially denizens of the Mile 16 neighbourhood in the South West Region, following gun exchanges between some unidentified gunmen and security forces.

The gunmen surfaced in Mile 16 at about 1:30pm when news broke that the French Secretary State for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, special envoy of President Emmanuel Macron, was coming to Buea to discuss with traditional, religious and administrative officials of the Region on the current socio-political crisis rocking the two English-speaking Regions of the country.

The French Ambassador to Cameroon, Gilles Thibault , was reportedly going to accompany President Macron’s special envoy to Buea.

As the news made the rounds in Buea, the gunmen stormed the streets of Mile 16 and mounted road barricades to prevent the August guest from having access into the Region.

However, military officers in the Region responded with all their might and the population started fleeing into the bush to avoid another military onslaught.

However, between 2:00pm and 4:00pm, there was no circulation of taxis in the town of Buea, but for the military trucks that were parading the deserted streets.

Few taxi drivers only mustered the gumption to circulate after 4:00pm, yet there were no passengers to transport, as everybody else had gone into oblivion.

Meantime, before the Friday, June 29 afternoon drama, there have been sporadic skirmishes between gunmen and security forces in Mile 16.  Such skirmishes have helped to expose young people in the area to rampant arrests and frequent military raids.

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