In a video posted on BaretaNews, a Facebook page run by Belgium-based Ambazonia activist Mark Bara Bareta, the separatist strong man in Lebialem says he now occupies the Essoh-Attah Palace of Fon Asongtia Valentine Foreke.
Essoh-Attah is one of three villages in Fontem Subdivision, the other two being Lebang of Fon Fontem Asabaton and Njogwi.
“Field Marshal” is seen in the video clad in the traditional wear akin to the Fon and reportedly sat on the throne during October 1, 2019 celebrations of the make-believe independence of Ambazonia.
In viral social media videos, the leader of the armed group appears to have taken upon himself the name of the highest traditional ruler of the land of Essoh-Attah, walked on the most sacred places in the Essoh-Attah palace, and sat on the throne of the Fon of Essoh-Attah as would do the fon of the land himself. Many villagers gathered and cheered him on.
In one of the videos, Field Marshal says his Mother, Junior Sister, Wife and Best Friend are being detained by security forces in a bid to have him surrender. In what may well appear as an “I don’t care” demeanor from the armed fighter, he said he will never give up. He added that the one who will kill him is yet unborn.
In what has now been described as a smear campaign against elites and traditional authorities of Lebialem Division, Field Marshal sent a motion of thanks to Paul Tasong, Minister Delegate to the Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development as well as to Dr. Boniface Fontem and Fon Asongtia Valentine Foreke for supporting the Red Dragons and for making the recent October 1 feast a success.
“I appreciate Valentine Asongatia Foreka in whose palace we are. We are in Essoh-Attah palace and Asongtia Valentine owns the palace. I appreciate him for all what he has done. I also appreciate Paul Tasong of Mmouckbi for supporting the Red Dragon. I also thank Boniface Fontem for what they have done to support us for this ceremony,” said Field Marshal in his perceived sear campaign.
Apparently irked by the excesses of the self-imposed “King of Lebialem” and separatist strongman as well as his attempts to soil the good name of the elite, the Traditional Rulers from Alou, Wabane and Fontem grouped under the Lebialem Fons Conference met in Yaoundé Monday, October 14, 2019.
In the final communiqué that sanctioned the extraordinary general assembly of the Lebialem Fons Conference signed by its President, Senator Fon Lekunze Nembo Andreas, Paramount Fon of Bamumbu, the royal fathers regretted that the royal stools in the Division are being desecrated by separatists. They went on to renew their unalloyed support to their elite and to state institutions and authorities.
The Fons wrote: “We therefore use this opportunity to sturdily condemn the following: the threats facing the customs, tradition and cultural heritage of Lebialem Division due to the ferocious activities of separatists; the general insecurity, intimidation and unconsecrated actions of separatists on our populations and their property; the attempt by separatists to tarnish the image of our elites and traditional ruler by claiming that they have been sponsoring them.”
Cameroon-info.net understands that Lebialem is one of six divisions in Cameroon's South West Region. The Division has three Subdivisions - Alou, Fontem and Wabane. Alou has six villages – Lewoh, Ndungatet, Nwametaw, Nwangong, Mmouckbi and Mouckgie. Fontem Subdivision has three villages – Essoh-Attah, Lebang, and Njogwi. On its part, Wabane is made up of villages like Bamumbu, Bangang, Banti, Bechate, Besali, Folepi, Igumbo, Nkong.
Most traditional rulers in the North West and South West Regions are known to have fled their palaces when the Anglophone crisis morphed into an armed conflict.