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What actually happened at the Longla neighbourhood?

This is the compound the sect ,members alledged they have been living in since 2001

This is the compound the sect ,members alledged they have been living in since 2001

A total of 7 men, 8 women and 30 children were found by the police when they raided a residence at the Longla neighbourhood in Bamenda, opposite the Longla school gate yesterday March 12, 2013. They occupant confessed belonging to a religious sect that preaches strict seclusion from the rest of the world and practices incest.

 The members live in a high fence compound and consider the rest of the world evil and wish to be apart from it. They live a vegetarian life feeding mostly on fruits and vegetables. Their world is a complete one with their own doctor, midwife attendant, chief cook, and a patriarch. The other members of the family are assigned various task and roles. Only the men are allowed out of the compound which is guarded by dogs of different breeds.

A gym for indoor sports was found inside the secluded compound

A gym for indoor sports was found inside the secluded compound

The 7 men take any of the women at will and have each fathered several children with each of the women. Some have had children with their children. They believe this is their own way of producing a world of pure breeds.

They told the police they took up residence at the present site since 2001. There are allegations that those that have died in the course of the years were buried in a small unmarked grave yard behind the compound.

The genesis

Details are now emerging that the police were once on the trail of the sect but for some unknown reasons let them off the hook. Two years back, a journalist for a local radio reported in the popular Pidgin English news “Tory Time” of a boy belonging to the sect who drowned under mysterious circumstances at the Mezam River. Despite a thorough search by the community, his body only surfaced when the sect members arrive at the river side. Curiously enough his remains where not taken to the mortuary but to their base.  For four days this became a regular news item over the radio, forcing the sect members to take the corpse to the mortuary. They later confronted the journalist with a receipt trying to discredit him. Unfortunately the receipt date shows it was deposited four days later further raising suspicion of foul play.

This journalist continued his investigations and found out that, there were children and women being held in the compound the sect use as their base at the Longla neighbourhood. This prompted the judicial police to open up an investigation which was eventually dropped.

The journalist became a target for the sect as they used both persuasive and forceful means to get close to him.

The apocalypse

On March 12, 2013, one of the sect adherents, 38 years old Harrison Ngong a graduate from the university of Buea died in the early hours of the day. His mother who lives not far away was informed. She would not believe the story that his son suffered a heart attack simply by judging from his physical appearance which looked insipid and rugged. She immediately informed the police.

They police decided to carry a thorough search of the compound and found 30 children between the ages of 1 and 18 all at sleep probably from drug influence. By this time the neighbours had notice some activities in a no go area and became curious. Within a few minutes the place was jammed full by curious onlookers. As the story spread across town, thousands of people arrived the scene while others went to the hospital where the corpse of Ngong was taken to.

The battle

The area soon became a battle ground between the few police officers and the huge crowd which wanted the heads of the sect leaders. Mezam SDO, the DO for Bamenda II and the SDF chairman all arrived the scene but could only help watch as the crowd continued to swell.

The police by this time were struggling to hold back the crowd that wanted to burn down the compound. More reinforcement was brought in from the gendarmes and the army but it was still insufficient.

the crowd continued to grow as the news spread around town

the crowd continued to grow as the news spread around town

The population started throwing stones at the police as they speed off with the sect leaders, infuriating the angry mob that turn their anger on the compound.

Some started throwing stones on the roof while others hunted down the dogs and succeeded to killed some, others looted whatever they could fine including gym equipment and electronics. A car belonging to the group was badly damaged by the mob despite all the efforts of the police to protect it. It was later on set ablaze in the evening.

The police came under heavy attack as they try to evacuated the sect leaders

The police came under heavy attack as they try to evacuated the sect leaders

This car belonging to the sect was finally destroyed

This car belonging to the sect was finally destroyed

They compound remains guarded by the police up to now.

The situation could have gotten out of hand if not of the tact and bravery of the police led by Commissioner Nsom Mbede who continued to persuade the crowd to see reasoning.

The 30 children have been handed over to the department of social welfare while the women have been handed over to the ministry of women empowerment and the Family.

The 7 men are under police custody pending investigation and trial.

By Abongwa Fozo in Bamenda

 

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