Contributed Nkafu Gabriel
A plane belonging to the Cameroon Airlines Corporation (Camair-Co) was attacked by gunmen on Sunday December 1, 2019 in the city of Bamenda, capital of the restive North West region of Cameroon. Thankfully, no lives were lost.
The identity of the persons responsible for the shooting that brought down the plane is not clearly known but it is widely believed that separatist fighters in the area are responsible for the attack. As a matter of fact, the Communication Secretary of the Ambazonia Interim government, Chris Anu has said the amba boys are responsible for the attack. He stressed that the intention was not to bring down the aircraft but they believe that the government has been using these commercial planes to fly military and ammunition into their territory.
The attack has provoked widespread condemnation from political leaders and civil society actors. In a tweet, former Presidential hopeful and Leader of the NOW Movement, Barrister Akere Muna said “Shooting at CAMAIR-CO Aircraft type MA60 in #Bamenda is an outright act of international terrorism. It advances no cause, endangers innocent lives & destroys any capital of sympathy accumulated. Many of us toil day and night for #justice and #peace. Then this! #AnglophoneCrisis.”
Prominent Cameroonian Human rights and civil society Activist Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh says the attack is very sad and unacceptable, adding that is a gross violation of international law and escalation is further proof we are close to abyss and need genuine help to bring the crisis to an end.
The former President of the Popular Action Party (PAP) and former Supreme Court Advocate General, Justice Ayah Paul Abine however looks at the attack differently. Justice Ayah says “the CAMAIRCO Plane could be a legitimate target.” He adds that “if the attacker had evidence that the plane was on a military mission – carrying combatants, military equipment or supplies or it was being used otherwise for military purposes, then, of course, the plane was a legitimate target.”
In the meantime, the plane has been grounded in order to assess the nature of the impact and Camair-Co’s flight schedule has been re-organized to limit any disruption that may result.