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Hushed jubilation for 1st ever Menchum General as 19 Wum youths languish in Kondengui

The news of the appointment of a son from Menchum Division as Brigadier General in the armed forces has been…

The news of the appointment of a son from Menchum Division as Brigadier General in the armed forces has been received with mixed feelings in many sectors of  the division, The Voice weekly newspaper has reported.

The publication by the media group which also publishes Menchum Voice, said while some have welcomed the appointment of a son from the division to a post of responsibility in the country’s defence forces after several years of reported neglect, others have described it as one with little or no effect.

The appointment of Colonel Agha Robinson Ndong who hails from Modelle in Menchum Valley Sub Division on June 29, 2017 by the Head of State comes exactly 18 months after 19 Wum youths were snatched from Wum by soldier and then whisked off from the Bamenda Central Prison without warning to an unknown destination. The all night long journey ended at the Yaoundé maximum security prison in Kondengui. Their arrest follows the burning down of the military barracks in Wum on Saturday, January 23, 2016 by an angry crowd after the stabbing to death of a commercial motorcycle rider, 23-year-old Leonard Ngong, by a soldier during a fight related to a love affair.

Wum then fell under an undeclared state of emergency and many people were arrested by security forces and later ferried to detention in Bamenda. Troops had ordered the 19 youths out of their cells in Bamenda at about 11 pm that night to grab their belongings and move. Naively, they thought they were going home to Wum. But their anxiety soon evaporated when they instead took the road to hell.

Wum boys in Kondengui ©All rights reserved

A pregnant young lady and mother of four, Queenta Dze Kwalla, who was amongst the arrested was later set freed thanks to the unfaltering efforts of the Member of Parliament for Menchum South, Hon. Wallang Richard Ebua. Kwala Dze Queenta’s release was as dramatic as her arrest and subsequent transfer to Yaoundé. She appeared in court with 18 other detainees from Wum on Thursday, July 7, 2016 to answer charges pressed against them on the destruction of the military arsenals in Wum in January 2016. But to her sweet surprise, the presiding judge, a military colonel, unexpectedly pronounced her freedom. She was let to go without bail but cautioned to report back anytime the court may want her.

Initially detained on the orders of the North West Governor, Adolphe Lele L’Afrique, the detainees spent weeks in detention facilities in Bamenda. But the transfer of 19 of them to Yaoundé was at the instance of Chief Judge at the Yaoundé Military Court, Captain Frederic Poh Mbolule sanctioned by order No 090/ORD/CI/16 dated April 16, 2016, instructing that the 19 suspects be taken to Yaoundé at midnight to pre-empt any unpredictable reaction or resistance from the Wum population resident in Bamenda.

The 19 suspects that were ferried to Yaoundé overnight included two soldiers working in Wum, Athanase Ateba Mvodo and Pierre Gaetan Akame Nkoo, who in January 2016 stabbed a motorcycle taxi rider to death; Kwala Dze Queenta (the lone female detainee, freed) Livingstone Fung Achou , Joseph Afuh Mamouda Sule, Azang Hamilep Azang, Kingsley Njuh Kelley, Abang Modest Amih, Nasser Fontoh, Ngong Solos Wallang, Franck Tsu Itie, Gerald Kum Chou, Nestor Kangsen Mbah, Marcel Fung Mih, Ewi Alain Meeh, Bruno Lumba Nkemta, Canisius Ngong Yoh, Nassen Fontoh and Emmanuel Achuo Kum.

On Thursday June 29, 2017, Biya signed a series of decrees appointing members of the military to various posts of responsibility. Amongst the decrees was the appointment and promotion of eleven army colonels to the rank of brigadier generals while six others were admitted into the second section within the army.

The newly appointed Generals are drawn from the Gendarmerie, Army and Air force.

They include: Gandarmerie (Louba Zal Pierre, Essoh Jules César, Housseni Djibo, Ekongwesse Divine Nnoko, Toungue Elias); Army (Bitote Andre Patrice, Melingui Nouma Donatien, Nouma Joseph, Assoualai Blama, Agha Robinson Ndong); Air force (Eba Eba Bede Benoît).

The presidential highlighted six of the promoted colonels. The colonels Louba Zal, Essoh, Housseni, Ekongwesse, Toungue and Bitote were commanders before their promotion.

In the army, Colonel Melingui Nouma Donatien was, until his appointment as Brigadier General, commander at military headquarters brigade. He was appointed in January 2016 for a three-year term after two weeks of retirement. Nouma Joseph is known as one of the most feared Cameroonian senior officers in the fight against the Boko haram terrorist sect. He is currently leading the operation Alpha in the Far North region. He was equally part of the operation Delta in Bakassi which reduced maritime piracy in the locality. General Nouma is also one of the first trainers of the anti-terrorism company of presidential guards.

Col. Agha Robinson until his appointment was the army commander of the 22nd Motorised Infantry Battalion for the West, North West and parts of the South West Regions with base in Bamenda. Agha who hails from Modelle in Menchum Valley Sub Division, Menchum Division of the North West Region becomes the first ever General the Division has ever produced.

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