Kidnapped on April 30, 2022 with her driver in Bamenda, CPDM Senator Elizabeth Régina Mundi was released yesterday May 30.
The Ministry of Defense (Mindef) announced yesterday evening that the army has freed Senator Regina Mundi from the hands of the separatists. Captain Cyrille Atonfack, head of the Mindef communication division, reports that the elected official was released after a military operation that began on Sunday May 29. “A detachment made up of elements of our Defense and Security Forces has been engaged since the morning of Sunday May 29, 2022, in an operation to approach a terrorist refuge in Ashong, Batibo district, Momo division, Northwest” informs the senior officer. He adds: “As our men approached on the evening of Monday, May 30, 2022, heavily armed terrorists opened heavy fire to halt their progress, while some of their comrades tried to escape with the hostages held in captivity in their lair“.
Assessment of this battle according to Mindef: “ several hostages released, including Senator Elizabeth Regina Mundi, a dozen terrorists neutralized, and several others wounded and on the run, 3 terrorists captured, several assault rifles and ammunition of various calibers seized, 14 improvised explosive devices seized and defused, an all-terrain pick-up vehicle used by the terrorist gang seized, the vehicle of Senator Elizabeth Regina Mundi recovered“.
A few hours after this release from the Ministry of Defense, a separatist leader confirmed the attack, without confirming the sequence of events or the results; in a video capsule published on social networks, “ Capo Daniel ”, No. 2 of the Ambazonia Defense Force (ADF), the militia which had claimed responsibility for the abduction of the senator reports that its fighters on the ground indeed confronted the army.
Capo Daniel reports that the ADF militiamen clashed with the army in the villages of Ashong, Enwen, Enyoh, Ewai, Ambo. He also states that these militiamen “succeeded in freeing four people from the hands of the army“. He also alleges that his men “did not register any losses“. No mention is made of the case of Senator Mundi. Separatist activists have demanded clarification on what really happened, others accuse Capo Daniel of collusion with the army over this release.
A six-year war
The separatist conflict erupted at the end of 2016 after the government severely suppressed demonstrations demanding equal treatment and more autonomy for Anglophones, some of whom consider themselves ostracized by the central power. The war has claimed more than 6,000 lives and displaced around a million people in six years, according to the think tank’s International Crisis Group (ICG).
From the start, President Paul Biya has shown himself to be intractable, even with regard to the demands of the most moderate – in favor of a federalist solution – and has sent massive security forces to try to put down the rebellion. Both the army and the separatists are regularly accused by the UN and international NGOs of committing crimes against civilians, the main victims of the conflict.