The locality of Tole, Buea sub division of the South West Region is said to be deserted following violent clashes between security forces and separatists fighters, sources have confirmed.
At least two civilians have died following clashes that have been going on in the locality since the start of the week that have forced residents to park park out, sources confirm.
The traditional ruler of Tole, is said to have escaped months ago following the waves of abduction that saw separatists kidnap eight chiefs in Buea.
His palace is set to have been burnt down in the course of the fightings while several properties have been destroyed and others looted.
Victorine, a resident of Tole tells journalducameroun.com she and her neighbours been sleeping in the bushes for the past three days because they can not bear the sound of gunshots.
“I have sent my children to my brother in the village(Mejung, North West Region of Cameroon) and I will go and pack some of my things when it is safer and follow them to the village where it is safe,” Victorine says.
Tole renowned in the cultivation and production of tea is fast becoming a shadow of itself as the Cameroon Tea Estate which is the main employer in the area has been drastically hit by the crisis and has been unable to pay workers for months
The tea plantations as well as factory have been completely deserted as a result of the frequesnt gun battles while the the usually booming Bwiyuku market which serves as a source for heavy-scale buyers has dropped in activity.
Justine Ntsi, a trader who buys banana from the Tole market to supply in Douala says her business has dropped drastically in the past months as a result of the tensions in the area.
“Many farmers from whom we buy have all fled and very few have the courgae to go to the farm to harvest their crops because they fear they could either be caught be a stray bullet or targeted by armed men in the bushes,”she says.
The few who have mustered the courage usually sell double the price, Justine adds.
Justine who has built her entire life in Tole, has relocated with her four children to Douala and only comes back to Tole to buy banana but is now reflecting on a switch in business if the situation persists.
But firs things first, she has to hang in order to send her children to school with the new academic year looming before venturing for pastures new.