The Armed separatists have ordered people to stay inside their homes from April 29 to May 1 and from May 18 to May 20, 2019.
“The General Public is hereby warned that from the 29th April to 1st May 2019 all over the Federal Republic of Ambazonia will be observed as Ghost Town (Country Sundays). 18th-19th and 20th May 2019 will equally be respected as above,” a tract-like document dated April 18, 2019 reads in part.
The document bears a signature of someone who takes the title “Acting Chairman Governing Council, Ground Zero – F R Ambazonia”. It adds in its second paragraph that “vehicles, motorcycles, and people should avoid movements. The only authorized circulation will be Doctors Without Borders.”
The document titled “Public Notice” goes on to state in its paragraphs three and four that: “No trade union leaders will be seen out on 1st of May 2019. Any violators of these orders will get negative consequences from our restoration forces. The restoration forces should take this serious and strict implementation of these orders.”
The last lockdown of both regions in February was bloody and the recent lockdown of Fako Division as well. Lives were lost to bullet wounds, while others died because they could not access medical facilities. Hunger might also have killed many who were forced to stay home for ten uninterrupted days.
Many locals say the six-day ghost town call planned for May is a joke in bad taste.
Activist, Mark Bareta announced the separatist plan in a Facebook post on April 22. “I am particularly happy that our fighters are listening and this decision is a people’s oriented decision,” Bareta wrote, apparently reacting to initial claims that the lockdown would run for 20 days.
Government is yet to make any official reaction to the separatist call but the governors and other administrators in both regions had long enjoined the population to shun such calls and go about their daily activities. Unfortunately, not even government’s guarantee of security has weakened the fears many have going out on days declared “Ghost Town”.
It should be noted that recently, calls from separatists was to the effect that the public should boycott the 2019 Mount Cameroon Race of Hope as well as the Limbe Festival of Arts and Culture, Limbe FESTAC – both events went on successfully and were graced by the masses.