DISCONTENT: MILITARY PACE TAKES OVER YAOUNDÉ
By Ludovic Ngouéka, US Africa News. Updated 2015-09-12
It’s just past 11 at Cameroonian army headquarters this morning. A security cordon has been established at the entrance. Armed soldiers are holding up traffic on the axis from the municipal highways to Cétic Ngoa-Ekelle. "You can’t get through, turn around!” ordered one of the men, his face a blank. Repeating in words what a colleague had just indicated by gesture, his arm shooing away pedestrians. "We’re going to the garrison,” one of the pedestrians tries to argue. "In that case, detour by the French Embassy and the Reunification Monument; tell your problem to our men who are there and tell them that we sent you," advises one of the men, visibly unarmed. Everyone trying to get to Plateau Atemengue is resigned to take the same path. Along the road, a network of troops is keeping orders. "Go across! Walk to the other side!" we hear at times.
At the Reunification Monument, The fluency seen in the orders given at the entrance of the headquarters begin to break down. "Cross first ... now we can hear you," says a young rebel. After the explanations of the reporter about the need to reach the hospital, we hear it is necessary to go back way the we came, since "no one can pass; even if we let you pass, then our leader will not let you go, and we ourselves will have problems." One of his superiors intervenes from above: "Are there any problems?" He asks. The needy tell him their problems: "No; there is no way through here." Meanwhile, an older lady, in her sixties or thereabouts, loses her balance and fights against an inevitable fall. She was going to the garrison. Her escort is struggling to catch up with the sick woman. Nothing affects the soldiers’ determination. A summoned taxi comes to transport the woman, and another old man in the same situation, in hopes of getting down to the French Embassy and finding someone there to indicate a different path through the tangle.
The soldiers who are carrying out this action are from the Mission to the United Nations of Central African Nations (Minusca) in Bangui. Having received other payments, including from the Cameroonian State, they have still not received this payment from the UN; funds which has already been allocated under the auspices of Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary General. But the money never reached the troops, who complain that they have spent 18 months at the front rather than six.
And so, Yaoundé is marching to a military beat this morning. At dawn, a contingent of several armed soldiers stormed the streets of the capital, with stops at strategic points, notably City Hall and then the Prime Minister's office, witnesses said, before taking control of military headquarters and Ministry of Defense; now one has to show credentials in order to cross the security barriers erected at all entrances to army property located in Yaoundé 3. "It’s hot today; we have to follow orders; we are sorry, "implores one of the men on duty behind the Reunification Monument.