Saturday, April 16, 2016

Botaland Villagers Send Chief, Others on Exile

Irate villagers of Botaland, a village in Limbe 2 Subdivision of Fako, have raised part of their chief’s palace to ashes, with his vehicle and that of his aides also burnt. The chief, HRH Mbella and others have reportedly taken refuge out of the village for safety.
A little over 200 villagers went on the rampage, Wednesday April13; destroying property and beating those they consider enemies to Botaland village. They are demanding the immediate dethronement of chief Mbella and his councilors by the administration. The angry villagers marched through the offices of the State Counsel and Fako Senior Divisional
Villagers calling on Chief to leave.
Villagers calling on Chief to leave.
Officer before returning to their village to echo their grievances.
According to a native of the village, one Eko Micheal, matters went out of hand, when Magistrate Tatsi Theophilus, a judge at the Limbe Court of First Instance, slammed a one year three months jail term to some seven villagers in a matter that involved the chief and the villagers. The chief in 2015 had sued these villagers in court for kidnappings and threats to his life.
The defense counsel of the sentenced villagers, Barrister Ikomi Ngongi, recalled that the village crisis began in 2012 when some hectares of land surrendered by CDC were embezzled by the said chief.
That led to a series of protests
staged by the villagers demanding their own share of the land. The repeated refusal and arrogance of the chief, who at some point flooded the village with security guards, degenerated the protest to rebellious actions.
Some villagers in 2015 reportedly caught some men who were measuring some portions of land they bought from the chief. The villagers attempted to burn them alive at the village square but for the timely intervention of the forces of law and order. Seven of the villagers were arrested and detained at the Limbe Gendarmerie and later taken to Buea Central prison. It was one of the series of court hearings that saw the seven accused finally have their judgement.
There is a heavy deployment of forces of law and order presently patrolling the village. Meantime, the first assistant SDO for Fako, Vincent Nafongo, is schedule to hold a crisis meeting with a delegation from the village this Monday April 18 to broker peace.
By Yanick Fonki Ndaley, April 16,2016