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29 December, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Survivors tell of France’s ‘dirty war’ in Cameroon independence

AFP, Ekité, Cameroon
Survivors tell of France’s ‘dirty war’ in Cameroon independence
This file photo shows people passing in front of the statue of Ruben Um Nyobé, a Cameroonian politician, in Eseka recenly. AFP photo

It was a “dirty war” waged by French colonial troops but it never made headlines and even yesterday goes untold in school history books.

The brutal conflict unfolded in Cameroon, which on January 1 marks its 60th anniversary of independence—the first of 17 African countries that became free from their colonial masters in 1960.

Many decades on, those who witnessed the violence recall events that shaped countless lives in the central African country yet remain unchronicled today.

“My life was overturned,” Odile Mbouma, 72, said in the southwestern town of Ekite.

On the night of December 30, 1956, French troops arrived in the town and slaughtered dozens of people, perhaps as many as a hundred, she said.

“We were sitting under a tree when we suddenly heard the crackle of gunfire,” she said. “It was everyone for themselves.”

Taking to her heels, the seven-year-old found herself jumping over bodies. “They were everywhere.”

The troops were looking for independence fighters—members of the Union of the Peoples of Cameroon (UPC), a nationalist movement established in 1948 that faced repression first by the French and later by Cameroonian soldiers.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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