Citizens of the South West region snubbed the caravan of the Cameroon International Cycling Tour which toured a few towns of the region on March 13.
Reporters in the caravan say very few people came out to clap for cyclists along the streets; from the Kumba toll gate through other towns to the Limbe arrival ground. Reports from Limbe also say the pomp and fare that usually characterised the arrival ground during the past editions was missing yesterday.
The snub of the event, analysts say, is linked to the ongoing protests marked by boycotts of public events in English-speaking regions of Cameroon.
The massive deployment of troops and heavy artillery to secure the peaceful passage of the caravan, as reported by journalists in the South West region, lends credence to assertions that government had feared agitating youths in the region, would attempt to disrupt the tournament as part of the ongoing protests against what is commonly referred to as, Anglophone marginalisation.
Military jet on standby
All along the race routes in the South West region, the caravan came across a heavily armed soldier after every 300 meters. Police officers were also posted in some areas to reinforce security. Other sources claim the visible security forces were just a tip of the iceberg.
A source said to be reliable also hinted reporters in the region that a military jet was also ready on standby; prepared to engage for back up in the case of any eventuality. There was however no confrontation in the region as the majority of its inhabitants stayed indoors, apparently in respect of a weekly ghost town called by the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium.
The Consortium has marked Mondays of every week as ghost town days in Anglophone regions. Intrinsically, citizens in some parts of the regions have nicknamed Monday ‘Country Sunday’ – a name which refers to traditional Sabbath days during which work is forbidden.