Yesterday 29th September, 2011, as from 5pm – 8pm (CAT), Witnesses report a heavy military presence in Cameroon's commercial hub, Douala, after gunmen dressed in military uniform opened fire on a major bridge and carrying signs opposing Cameroon's longtime ruler. Some of the placards read “Paul Biya Must Go At All Costs! Enough is Enough! Biya the dictator!”
Sources say that the military men kept firing shots in the air while chanting the slogans “BIYA DÉGAGE”. They then engaged in fierce gunshot battle with security officials before disappearing from the bridge with one seen diving into the river Wouri and four arrested, now under custody.
Cameroon police said they were interrogating the suspects to determine if they were soldiers.
Cameroon is scheduled to hold a presidential election on October 9.
Biya who was nominated the dictator of the months by David Wallechinsky; author of Tyrants: The World’s 20 Worst Living Dictators last week, is considered one of Africa's remaining strongmen after the fall of Mubarak and Gadaffi of Libya. He now contests the position with Robert Mugaber of Zimbabwe. Not also forgetting Obiagema of Equatorial Guinea who told power in 1979 and since then has never organized an election and is now the chair person for AU.
Since 1982, President Biya has ruled the country and is widely expected to win another seven-year term. In 2008, the 78-year-old Biya pushed through constitutional changes that eliminated term limits
The changes triggered anti-government riots in which at least 40 people were killed, and many till date are still imprison. Some opposition supporters have urged Biya to step down and have argued that the old term limits still apply to him. As the country enters the last phase of the campaign ahead of the presidential elections scheduled for October 9th, many have been left wondering whether the elections will take place given the heightened tension in the country.
Though skeptics have quickly asserted the Douala event to be a staged tactic by the regime so as to have an excuse to deploy the military onto the streets just before the elections to intimidate the population and flush out any plans of rioting, it should be noted that eyewitness report of the gun battle between the gun men and the security officials cancels out any conspiracy theory. It may be too early two conclude.
In a separate event on same Thursday, members of Election Cameroon (ELECAM) reported explosives had been placed in their offices in Limbe. An eyewitness reported that a slim squad of some gendarme and army officers carefully and safely removed explosives placed at the ELECAM office at Mile One, Limbe.
ELECAM officials who spoke to the press reported that the devices were discovered as early as 5:00 am on Thursday morning and they immediately alerted the Southwest Governor and other security services.
The Limbe event also like the one in Douala happened as the ELECAM Board member in charge of the Southwest, Dorothy Limunga Njeuma, was expected to visit Limbe and other ELECAM offices within the SW Region. It is reported the visit has been suspended until further notice. There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the undetonated bombs found early in the morning.
Moments after this happened, the Southwest governor Koumpa Issa, then quickly rushed down to Limbe, visited the scene and, summoned an urgent closed door security meeting to assess the situation.
Today’s events across the country have only intensified the doubts.
source: (BMG and Cameroonpoll)