Amba Fighters Resurface In Buea, Kill One, Burn Four Cars 

Feb 12, 2024

By Hope Nda

Gunmen who identified themselves as Ambazonia separatist fighters attacked Molyko, Buea, on Monday, January 29, killed a man and also burned four vehicles.

The unprecedented assault occurred along the Buea Central Market Road, in front of the Divine Mercy Co-Cathedral at about 8:30pm, according to the police.

Musonge Derick, a native of Bova village in Buea Subdivision, was the lone casualty of the incident. 

The relative of former Prime Minister Peter Mafany Musonge died before he could be rushed to the Buea Regional Hospital, where his corpse has been preserved.

Based on eyewitness accounts, the attackers, who were dressed in military gear, set his car ablaze before pulling him out and gunning him down.

Hospital authorities also confirmed he had incurred some burns around the neck as well as injuries when he was brought in.

A police official in Buea told The Post two women, whose identities were yet unknown, were abducted during the attack and one survivor sustained an injury on the arm.

Six vehicles were vandalised in the attack: four got burned, two incurred some damages, the police added.

Musonge’s death is a double tragedy for his family within the ongoing crisis in Cameroon’’s Northwest and Southwest Regions. 

His wife, Becky Jeme Iyabo, who was the Divisional Delegate for Communication in Momo, Northwest, was also killed in a separatist attack in January 2020. 


Attackers Were Dressed In Police Uniforms 

An eyewitness who was caught in the recent gunfire said he saw about seven heavily armed fighters dressed in police kaki. 

“One of them was holding a heavy machine gun which he placed on the ground and was firing. One of them shouted that anyone who ventures outside will be killed. They set fire on the vehicles which were in the middle of the road. There was a young man inside one of the vehicles. They asked him to come out but he refused so they set his car on fire, shot him and dragged him out of the car. That’s his blood there,” he told journalists.

Another eyewitness said they were watching the Africa Cup of Nations when they saw men dressed in police uniforms stopping vehicles on the road. 

But most drivers were unyielding, so the gunmen began firing heavily for over 30 minutes, during which they burned vehicles and killed Musonge.

The motive behind the attack remains uncertain, but the witness said the attackers claimed they wanted to reinforce Monday ghost towns.

“Their main reason was that people have not been respecting ghost towns which they instituted,” the eyewitness said.

In a video that made rounds on social media a few minutes after the attack, armed men who identified as “Mountain Lions of Fako,” an armed group controlled by one “General Sagat,” claimed responsibility.

The same group had claimed responsibility for a gun attack that led to three civilian deaths and left two taxis burned in Muea, Buea, on September 7, 2023. 

The city of Buea has witnessed calm since the September attack, which was followed by a ritual by traditional rulers to cleanse the city of bloodshed.


“The attack is coming after many months we have not registered any attack around Buea,” Southwest Governor, Bernard Okalia Bilai, told CRTV. 

Monday’s attack is another unfortunate episode of countless incidents that have claimed over 6,000 lives in the English-speaking Regions of Cameroon since 2016.

The cycle of bloodshed was ignited in 2017, when an industrial strike by Anglophone lawyers and teachers was hijacked by separatist fighters who are clamouring for a breakaway state called Ambazonia.


Violence Is “Unacceptable”

In the wake of the recent attack, which occurred in front of the Buea Co-Cathedral, the Bishop of Buea Michael Bibi condemned it as unacceptable.

“I extend my deepest sympathies and condolences to the family and friends of the deceased and encouragement to those injured,” he wrote in a release.

“These acts of violence are unacceptable and we condemn them in the strongest terms. At this painful moment, we must come together as a community and find solace in our faith. It is only through our steadfast faith that we shall find both the hope and courage to face the uncertainties that surround us. 


“Again, we extend our support and love to all those who have been injured in this attack. Our prayers go out to them and to the family of the deceased,” the Bishop said.

The Bishop’s message resonates with past calls by Bishops of Cameroon for dialogue and an end to hostilities in the English-speaking Regions.


The crisis has also had a toll on the Catholic Church, notably with the burning of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Nchang, Mamfe Diocese, and the kidnapping of five priests, one religious sister, and two lay faithful by gunmen on September 16, 2022. 


Amba Boys No More In The Bushes

Commenting on the incident attack on Buea, the Governor of the Southwest Region, Bernard Okalia Bilai, said it is proof that normalcy is yet to return to Buea, and to a larger extent, the Northwest and Southwest Regions. 

He also asserted that separatist fighters, who are generally thought to be hiding in the bushes, are now in neighborhoods and villages where they mingle with the population, waiting for the right time to strike.


“People who say that normalcy is back and why is it that this attack is coming again – we must know that the separatists are still there,” he said. 

“They are hanging around, carrying weapons. That is why I always sensitize the population to denounce them. We launched a whole campaign last year to terrorize the terrorists. Those people when they did it, they disappeared into the quarters, into the villages. They are no longer in the bushes, they are living with the population.”

Last October, the Governor engaged traditional rulers, elected officials, and elites of the Southwest in a meeting in Buea to strategise against separatist attacks.

At the meeting, they pledged to put a stop to lock downs and ghost towns usually implemented by separatists. However, the attacks ghost towns have persisted since then.