Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Five Bakassi natives killed, displaced persons hit 1,800

By Mudiaga Affe, Calabar
Punch Newspapers, April 3, 2013
 
No fewer than five Bakassi natives, who resisted forcible eviction from the ceded peninsula, were allegedly killed by Cameroonian military authorities.
 
Chairman of Bakassi Local Government Area of Cross River State, Dr. Ekpo Bassey, who confirmed this on Tuesday, also said those in the camp for displaced persons had swelled to 1, 800.
 
He said recent onslaught occurred over the weekend when the Cameroonian gendarmes opened fire on defenceless Bakassi natives at Efut Obot Ikot, a settlement in the peninsula where they preferred to stay.
 
He lamented that scores of Nigerians, who had initially settled in Efut Obot Ikot community and its environs, following the ceding of the peninsula, had become victims as the Cameroonian authorities had continued to forcibly evict them.
 
The council chairman alleged that the Cameroonian authorities stormed the settlement, beating women and setting houses belonging to Nigerians ablaze, while those that resisted arrest were either maimed or killed.
 
Bassey said following the forcible ejection, the council decided to temporarily camp the displaced Bakassi natives at Akwa Ikot Edem Primary School in Akpabuyo.
 
He appealed to the Federal Government to urgently intervene in an impending epidemic as the health of 600 children had been exposed to hazards.
 
He said, “We strongly appeal to kind-hearted individuals, Nigerian government and foreign agencies to look into the plight of women particularly the identified 600 Nigerian children whose health has been endangered as a result of the forcible ejection of their parents from their traditional homeland in the Bakassi peninsula.”
 
Speaking on their plight, a spokesman for the displaced people, Chief Etim Asuquo, said the Cameroonian authorities started the eviction on March 7, accusing them (Bakassi natives) of militancy.
 
Asuquo said many people were arrested and taken away by the Cameroonian authorities, pleading with the Nigerian government to intervene so that they could go back to their communities.
 
At the Akpabuyo camp, three women had been delivered of babies with the third coming in the early hours of Monday from Mrs. Mary Archibong.
 
Red Cross officials told our correspondent that besides the newly born there were about 30 babies in the camp.
 
The official, who pleaded anonymity, said they were worried by the poor sanitary condition of the environment and lack of potable water which he feared could lead to an epidemic.
 
But speaking at the refugee camp on Tuesday when the State Emergency Management Agency presented some relief materials to the people, leader of the Bakassi people, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, said there was a need for the Federal Government which recently set up a committee to resettle the people of Bakassi, to expedite action on resettling them at Dayspring.
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