The much-revered October 1st is finally here. This day is considered by Ambazonians as an official day of independence for the people of the Southern Cameroons, and thus have opted to treat it like the national day, it is. The day is often marked by march-pasts and a general show of force by the Ambazonian fighters in the Anglophone regions.

The Villagers plight

In Lebialem, one of the major strongholds of the separatist fighters, the different divides of Ambazonian leadership have chosen to mark the day in their own ways. Lebialem formerly under the sole command of Oliver Lekeaka, known popularly as ‘Field Marshall’, now has three main generals spread across its three subdivisions; Fontem subdivision controlled by the field marshal, Wabane controlled by ‘General die man’ and Alou controlled by General Ayeke. The village is surrounded by three military camps which to date have never been able to take control of it.

A buzzing village at its prime prior to the crisis in 2016 now stands like a complete shadow of itself. Inhabitants of Lebialem have complained of being cut off from the rest of the country as they neither have a network nor electricity.

“Life is really hard in Lebialem, we only deal in cocoa and sell through Mamfe. Due to the crisis in the Anglophone regions and in Lebialem especially, the price has been lowered to 600frs for a kilogram of cocoa” laments farmers in Lebialem.

“Access into Lebialem is restricted and people do not even know what is going on here at any given time. If you want to call someone on phone, there are strategic spots you have to use so as to capture network”.

Surviving inhabitants of Ndumbin village in Allou say public places such public squares and markets have all been abandoned and have all turned to bushes except for the interior which is totally controlled by the separatist fighters. These inhabitants all give mandatory contributions to the Amba fighters as their own support for the struggle.

 

Separatists’ Dominion

In Ndumbin village, General Ayeke chose to commemorate October 1st by promoting some Ambazonian fighters under his group called ‘The Gorilla fighters of Lebialem’ to the ranks of generals and subordinates. His decision to promote them in anticipation of October 1st is reportedly due to a successful mission that was carried out that killed a good number of Cameroon armed forces. In a video shot on September 13, 2020, as the narrator of the video makes known in the presence of a curious crowd, the Amba fighters are seen making vows of commitment to completely eradicate the Cameroon military from the environs of the Lebialem division in the short run and attain the much-awaited independence.

Newly installed Ambazonian leader General Bright during his installation sent a strong warning to the Cameroon military, saying they were not going to stand on their way to independence and he would not stop unless his goal was achieved. “My mission here is to protect the civilians and take total control of our environment and to reach Buea. The military will hear from me and not me hearing from them. This is a sure mission, no retreat no surrender!” he declared confidently. Major General Ayeke of the Dragon fighters of Lebialem on his part was equally defiant of the military threats, promising to clear them off the Lebialem.

“As from today, there would no more trespass of Cameroonian soldiers here in Allou. I had information that Cameroonian soldiers move around our town going to Dschang and Menji. I am today stopping their movements. I am going to fortify my boys who will be very ready for them. The villagers will have their usual security while my boys will be on a special lookout for any trespassing military in our town. I am Major General Ayeke alias ‘man pass gun’ nobody dares me and goes free” he has threatened.

General Ayeke is the former fighter of the Red Dragons of Lebialem and the 2nd in Command of the Field Marshal. He later defected from the Red Dragons group and formed his own separatist group called the Gorilla fighters of Lebialem which now control the Allou Subdivision. There have reportedly been infightings between the Field Marshal and General Ayeke, with the latter wanting to topple Field Marshal in order to take control of the entire Lebialem. These infightings have had negative effects on the villagers as they become the suffering grass on which the two ambitious elephants fight on.