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Missing Batibo DO’s wife doesn’t believe her husband has been killed

The despair in her face is visible as she recounts the circumstances leading to the abduction of her husband, the…

The despair in her face is visible as she recounts the circumstances leading to the abduction of her husband, the D.O. of Batibo, Marcel Namata Diteng that fateful morning of February 11, 2018. He was seized by gunmen believed to belong to the Ambazonia Defence Forces.

“I still don’t know how my husband was easily kidnapped with all the security measures in Batibo,” said the missing D.O.’s wife, Mrs Julienne Namata.

She never resided full time in Batibo during the five months that her husband spent there. She lived in Yaounde with their children because of the insecurity reigning in both English-speaking regions. But on that fateful day, she was with her husband at home minutes before he was kidnapped.

“That morning I was at home. My husband and I had just finished morning prayers and I went to the kitchen to start cooking for the post-parade reception. Around 7am, I went to the room to ask him to start getting ready. I found that my husband had begun to pray again. I went out and went back to the kitchen. Around 8am we heard gunshots. I did not know who was shooting, because at the approach of a big event like this, the secessionists send intimidating SMS’s to the people and so the military often shoots in the air to dissuade them. So I went to the room to ask my husband to tell the military to stop shooting otherwise the population will not be able to come out and witness the march pass. When I entered the room I could not find him. He was not in the other rooms either,” Julienne Namata recounts events leading to her husband’s kidnap.

File photo of an administrator, Animbom Aron who was kidnapped in Batibo and his vehicle burnt down.

The D.O. had left residence with his driver to check if the grandstand was ready but was unfortunately kidnapped there.
“A few moments later, the divisional delegate for youth affairs came to tell me that my husband had been kidnapped by some masked men who took him along in his vehicle though the lieutenant with whom he went attempted to rescue him in vain,” added Julienne Namata.

“How were these guys able to take my husband away and walk away with him without anyone being able to intervene? How could they have done it so easily?” she wondered given the fact that the D.O. had passed instructions for security to be beefed up aroung the grandstand at am on the morning of the event. But when the attack took place, there were no gendarmes, policemen, nor soldiers.

“I did not know the place but I went there later and there I was surprised. A police post is situated at one end of the corner of the ceremonial ground, likewise a gendarmerie brigade and a temporary camp set up for military reinforcement. And none of them intervened during the attack,” she added.

As she reflects on her husband’s calamity at her Yaounde residence where she lives with her nine children, Mrs. Namata says she is in no hurry to a funeral as she keeps hoping her husband will one day return.

She says she is still not certain about claims that her husband has been killed because she has been given several versions on her husband’s “alleged death”.

“I went to see the minister [of Territorial Administration] with my in-law and my aunt and we asked him where my husband’s body is. He told us not to insist too much on asking for his corpse. He first explained to us that secessionists often kill people and throw bodies into water. It is possible that this is the case of my husband. Then he said that my husband was kidnapped by a gang who later sold it to another group, and then he was taken somewhere in Nigeria (where he was killed).

“The Government has promised to support the family by providing housing, providing support to the children to seek for a job.”

However, Julienne Namata does not know why she has been kept in the dark all this while only to learn of her husband’s fate in the media.

The Government was aware of the situation and had been careful not to give out any information until the “appropriate time,” a source at the Ministry of Territorial Administration told The Rambler. The only information that Namata Diteng’s family had received from the Government was that it was still actively searching for the D.O.

His kidnap signaled another phase of the crisis rocking the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon.
The kidnap of Namata Diteng marked a turning point in the crisis. He was the first public official to be kidnapped in broad daylight and since then, several such acts have followed.

After months of search and doubts, the government of Cameroon finally revealed in a document that the kidnapped official has been brutally assassinated.

“Administrative authorities have been regular targets of the terrorists who, in their propaganda, have continued to call for the murder of these representatives of the state. Here are some examples: 11 February 2018, kidnapping and assassination of the Divisional Officer of Batibo, Northwest Region,” the Government said in a 23-page document while unveiling a so-called Emergency Humanitarian Assistance Plan.

The revelation of Marcel Namata Diteng’s death came as a shock to his family who only got to know about it two days later via the media.

Approached by, the deceased’s son, Namata Bilai expressed disbelief at the news and immediately got in contact with his mother who later set out to contact the Government about the news.

After a failed attempt to meet the Minister of Territorial Administration Paul Atanga Nji on Friday, June 1 5, 2018, Mrs Julienne Namata was finally received on Wednesday, June 20, where she was briefed on the circumstances leading to her husband’s death.

“The Minister [of Territorial Administration] told me on Wednesday that it is true. He asked me to take courage and be strong. He told me that they found the six guys who kidnapped my husband and confessed that they killed him,” she told The Rambler the day after a visit to the minister, Atanga Nji.
The missing D.O.’s wife says she is not convinced by the government’s story.

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