Santa Chieftaincy Feud Results In Blood-Bath

this grave is the source of the conflict

this grave is the source of the conflict

 The recent outburst of the over 50-year-old chieftaincy crisis between the people of Njong and Bamock in the Santa Sub-Division resulted in a blood-bath and the destruction of property estimated at over FCFA 20,000,000m. 

 The bloody encounter occurred after the burial of one Theophile Nondem of Bamock (who had committed suicide). The people of Njong, who are neighbours of the Bamocks, objected to the burial, The Post was told.

 The story is told that Theophile Nondem, 29, committed suicide on Thursday, April 25 in Bamock. The Santa administration was quickly informed. The Sub-Divisional Officer for Santa, Lawrence Jam Diyen is said to have visited the site together with the Brigade Commander and a Medical Officer. After a post-mortem examination by the doctor, the Nondem’s family was allowed to bury their son.

 Shortly after the burial, some notables from Njong village (who had never considered Bamock a village but one of their quarters) emerged. They claimed that, according to their tradition, such an abominable death warranted special traditional rites to cleanse the land. The notables were infuriated when they learnt the young man had long been buried, especially as the Njong and Bamock people do not share common traditional obligations.

 The notables returned to the Palace fuming that their traditional authority had been challenged and abused. Soon, a squad of young men armed with machetes, axes, knives and clubs invaded Bamock. The deceased’s five-room house where he had committed suicide was destroyed. Next, the aggressive and blood thirsty squad raced for the deceased father’s compound, Pa Jacob Nkemchia Nondem. Young men who stood in their way were flogged.

 The enraged team continued with the destruction. For example, a six-room house belonging to Pa Jacob Nkenchia Nondem and three other houses were destroyed. destroyed with axes. They ransacked the rooms, destroying beds; mattresses, blankets and pillows were cut into pieces; tables, table-chairs and cushion chairs were chopped into bits; eight motor-cycles packed in the compound were damaged with axes beyond repairs; some computer and television sets, pots, dishes and other household were smashed into pieces; 12farm sprayers were destroyed on the spot while seven others were carried away; plantain suckers and other valuable plants were cut down.

 A provision store worth over 7million was flung open: articles suffered wanton destruction while others were looted; fertilizer was mixed into edible food items and other fertilizer bags taken away. Twenty-six people, all of Bamock origin were seriously injured and rushed to the Santa District Hospital. Meanwhile, three out of the six very critical victims were hurried to Mbingo Baptist Hospital in Belo Sub-Division especially as they suffered first degree fracture.

 Mezam SDO Visits Destruction Site, Victims

 The Senior Divisional Officer for Mezam, Felix Nguele Nguele, last Thursday visited Bamock to live the incident. Addressing the victims and the people of Bamock he met at the site, the SDO expressed his total shock at the wanton destruction that had left many homeless. He stressed that even if the traditions of Njong and Bamock were not corresponding, the law stood above all of them; and so some people would not have taken the laws into their hands.

In a stern and a pathetic tone, the SDO vowed to trail the matter to its logical end. He told the victims that he had come and seen and so they should be patient for prompt action. He assured them that they were protected by the law. He promised that the culprits must be traced to face the claws of the law.

 During an emergency crisis meeting in the Santa DO’s office, the SDO pleaded with the authorities present that the most urgent was to carter for the victims’ immediate needs. He prayed the Santa Mayor, Clement Atanga Wanki to seek for a quick means to pacify the victims.

 While instructing the Forces of Law and Order into prompt action, he assured that a crisis committee would be set up the following day. This will also make proper assessment of the damage that the culprits must pay for. The SDO condemned such barbaric act and abuse of the law in the strongest terms. Last Friday 3rd April, 2013, following a Prefectorial Order, the Fon of Njong, H.R.H. Fon Canisius Ngufor and three others were arraigned and detained given that he refused to cooperate with the Mezam Administration.

History reveals that the Njong people left Mankon in Bamenda and settled in the present site in 1926. They were given land by the Fon of Akum who did not compel them to pay allegiance to his Fondom. The people of Bamock who hailed from Lebialem in the South West Region came later in 1963 and were given land too to settle by Njong, the early settlers who are now forcing a people who speak different language, have different tradition and customs from theirs to pay allegiance to them.

 It is told that the Bamock, like the Njong people, came along with their chiefdom. As this protracted imbroglio intensifies, many sympathizers have expressed the desire for the government to step in promptly and quell the feud, and more important, bring a lasting solution to this antagonism.

By Panky Wamey in Santa


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