Demonstrations which started in a peaceful note in Kumba Friday Dec. 9, took a dramatic turn with violence taking the lead.
By end of day yesterday, the entire city was shot down and the skies covered with smoke from teargas canisters launched by paramilitary forces deployed in the town. Gunshots could be heard around areas like Meta Quarters, Ntoko Street and Buea Road.
Leading up to this was a standoff between bike riders and security officers around Kumba Town Roundabout. The bikers had taken possession of the stretch of road leading to Hilltop and Meta quarters while security officers stood in the opposite direction from Kumba Town.
Tempers flared as bikers taunted the police with invectives. Unable to contain the rage of the bike riders, security forces launched teargas canisters and fired gunshots into the air. This led to chasing battles between security forces, bike riders and the youths.
Violence came despite calls from administrative officials in Kumba that the population remain calm and security officers to exercise restraint following the Bamenda experience. However, the appeal failed as pictures of lifeless bodies and the wounded from Bamenda began
circulating on social media. Angry youths went whirl creating such tension in the town and asking for immediate change.
The 21st support battalion of the military as well as the army rescue unit was mobilized and deployed in the town and they are on high alert. A local reporter told us that he has never seen the central business district of Kumba and the Commonwealth Avenue so deserted.
Funeral services that were planned for this weekend have been cancelled and some corpses that were already removed from the mortuary early Friday were taken back because of the tense situation. About two persons were reported death even though yet to be confirmed. Many others were wounded and taken to the hospital. At the time of this report, (Friday evening), gunshots were still being heard in Kumba.