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Interesting, relevant newsy events.

Nigerian teen who lived in a plastic bowl dies on Christmas day.

(C) naij.com

(C) naij.com

Rahma Haruna, 19, who spent her entire life is a plastic bowl has died. The teen passed away last Sunday, December 25, 2016, Christmas evening, following a brief illness.

“Born in Lahadin Makole village in Kano, when Rahma was six months, her arms and legs stopped developing”, LIB reports.

“From six months when she learnt how to sit that was when it began. She didn’t learn how to crawl.” her mother Fadi said.

“She started with a fever and that was it. Then stomach pains. Then her body parts like hands and legs. She cannot use any if the ache strikes.”

Rahma’s tale came to the spotlight earlier this year after freelance photojournalist Sani Maikatanga shared pics of the physically challenged teen. In the pic, she was carried in a bowl by her 10-year old brother, Fahad. Reports say Fahad would usually take Rahma into Kano each day to beg for alms.

(c) Maikatanga

(c) Maikatanga

Her story pulled sympathy from many persons on Kano, who supported in cash and kind. One of them, Ibrahim Jirgi, a journalist  offered the family a wheelchair for Rahma.

Despite her physical challenge,  Rahma was optimistic and viewed life positively. Her greatest dream was to open up a supermarket of her own, according to reports. Unfortunately, that dream was cut short following her demise on  Christmas day.rahma-haruna

May her soul rest in PEACE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE LIBERATOR LIBERATED

longueCameroon Makossa artist, Longkana Agno Simon, known by stage name Longue Longue has been freed by French judicial authorities, national Bilingual daily, Cameroon Tribune quotes a correspondent of local TV channel, Canal 2 International in France.

He had been serving a 10-year jail term by decision of the Bordeaux court of Appeals in 2010 for abusing a minor in 2005, charges pressed by his ex-wife.

Born in 1973 in Douala, he has released several albums, amongst them “Ayo Africa” in 2001, which thrust him to the light.

Pending administrative procedures, Longue Longue has been asked to leave French territory latest February 2015, the source concludes.

CT

GIRL MARRIES DOG IN INDIA

18-year old Mangli Munda in India is marrying a stray dog. This is to ward off evil spirits, which her family believes she has, her parents say.

The confused “groom” was found by Munda’s father, and arrived as stylishly as any other groom in India would have – in a chauffeured car. According to Munda’s mother, Sheru, they have to spend money on the wedding, as it is the only way to “get rid of her bad luck and ensure the benevolence of the village”.

Such weddings are a tradition in this remote village in the eastern state of Jharkhand, India.

Luckily, Munda will not be forever united with this “husband” of hers. It is believed the tradition will ensure the longevity of a couple, when the bride eventually marries a true groom.

As a say to the union, Munda wasn’t pleased with her parents’ selection of a “groom”. “I am not happy with this marriage”, she says.

yahoonews

 

 

 

CAMEROON MARKS 42ND NATIONAL DAY

President Biya and First Lady, Chantal Biya

President Biya and First Lady, Chantal Biya

May 20, 2014, marks exactly 42 years since May 20, 1972, the day when Cameron became a unitary state. Cameroonians the nation over today celebrate the 42nd edition of their national unity. Celebrated under the theme “the army and the nation, in synergy for the preservation of peace and security, purveyor of integration, stability and economic development”, the grand event, presided over by the Head of State, President Paul Barthelemy Biya Bi Mvondo, was marked by a grand match past at the May 20 Boulevard in Yaounde. Special guests this year, as is tradition, was a contingent of the Ivory Coast army, led by Commandant Charles Yake.

Commemorative activities

Activities had been launched in Kye-Ossi in the South region, Kumba in the South West region, and Manoka in the Littoral region by the minister of Youth Affairs and Civic Education, Ismael Bidoung Mkpatt.

On Saturday May 17, 2014, a unity march took place all over the nation, in the ten regional capitals. However, Yaounde’s was spectacular with ten starting points, symbolic of the ten regions of Cameroon, all converging in four meeting points, symbolic of the four ethnicities of Cameroon: the Sawa, the Beti-Fang, the Grassfield and the Northern wings of the country. Animated by a mass choir, a mixture of Christian, Muslim and otherwise religious leaders implored the hand of God upon the unity of Cameroon.

On Sunday May 18, 2014, it was a colourful display of the Cameroon air force that graced the esplanade of the air force base in Yaounde. The parachutists, including three females, were applauded by a host of government officials, in the presence of Martin Mbarga Nguele, director general for national security.

A beauty pageant to determine Miss Unity 2014 was carried out involving ten contestants drawn form the ten regions of Cameroon. The young contestants had to elaborate on the theme of the year’s celebration, and showcase the beauty of their region, whilst bringing out the unity in diversity of the nation. At the end of the contest, Clementine Pita Rabbit was elected Miss Unity 2014.

At the May 20 Boulevard in Yaounde, a grand match past, presided over by President Biya, was attended by a host of top government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, and a crowd of local on-lookers amongst others. The military match past; civilian match past comprising over 30 political parties as well as schools featured as highlights.

In the evening, a gala will take place at the unity palace to celebrate national unity and integration, attended by a host of national and international invitees.

Revisiting history: May 20, 1972

After the British Southern Cameroons decided to gain independence by joining the already independent ‘La Republique Du Cameroun’ following the 11 February 1961 plebiscite, the move was officialised on October 1, 1961, and the Federal Republic of Cameroon was thus born.

Despite debated reasons, a new vision was sought by then president, Ahmadou Ahidjo, to remove barriers to national unity and integration. This, according to President Ahidjo, was to be fulfilled with the elimination of the two federated states of West and East Cameroon, and the birth of a united Cameroon. And so it was, that on May 20, 1972, Cameroonians on both sides of the Moungo took part in a referendum where they decided to be a unitary state.

The country thus gained the appellation “United Republic of Cameroon” and subsequently, “Republic of Cameroon”. Since then, May 20 was chosen as a national day for the Cameroonian people, and much reverence thenceforth bestowed upon it.

 The national anthem

The first words of the national anthem are said to have been originally written in 1928 by Rene Djam Ajame and a student group. However, due to Cameroon’s bilingual nature, the French words as we know them today were written by Moise Nyatte Nko’o and the English version by Bernard Nsosika Fonlon. The music was composed by Nyatte and Samuel Miniko Bamba, and it was finally adopted when Cameroon became an official or autonomous region.

Lyrics – English version

O Cameroon thou cradle of our fathers,

Holy shrine where in our midst they now repose,

Their tears and blood, and sweat thy soil did water,

On thy hills and valleys once their tillage rose.

Dear fatherland, thy worth no tongue can tell!

How can we ever pay thy due?

Thy welfare we will win in toil and love and peace,

Will be to thy name ever true!

Chorus

Land of promise, land of glory!

Thou of life and joy our only store!

Thine be honour, thine devotion,

And deep endearment for ever more!

Verse 2

From Shari, from where the Moungo meanders,

From along the banks of lowly Boumba stream,

Muster thy sons in union close around thee,

Mighty as the Buea Mountain be their team.

Instil in them the love of gentle ways,

Regret for errors of the past,

Foster for mother Africa a loyalty,

That true shall remain to the last.

Chorus

Land of promise, land of glory!

Thou of life and joy our only store!

Thine be honour, thine devotion,

And deep endearment for ever more!

 

The grand debate: national unity, myth or reality

Even though the country celebrates its national day, there is growing debate on whether integration and national unity is possible or plausible, legal or illegal, or if it is a myth or a reality.

Clamours are rife with the popularized “Anglophone problem” where Cameroonians of the English speaking side decry alleged discrimination in official appointments, little or no development and unfulfilled promises amongst others. One that stands out in this light is the construction of the much clamoured-for Kumba-Mamfe stretch of road. After long promises, the road is yet to be tarred. The latest of such promises ensued during the celebrations marking Cameroon’s fiftieth anniversaries of independence and reunification in Buea, last February, where those present were reassured that construction works on the road will debut on May 5, 2014. However, this has still gone down the anal of unfulfilled promises.

Whether the unity celebration as that displayed today is a farce or not, whether the national integration of Cameroon be a myth or reality, truth remains that a single nation is now recognised in Cameron; the people governed as one and the present vision aimed at preserving Cameroon united, one and indivisible, till proven otherwise.

KONDENGUI INMATES: FREEDOM VIA THE GRAVE?

Ever since the sparrow-hawk operation took root in Cameroon, some detainees of the Kondengui Maximum security prison in Yaounde have passed via the inescapable route of death to gain freedom. Even for those who were seemingly set free, death has still dragged them unto its path of freedom.

engoulou realVery recently, it was the turn of the former minister delegate to the then ministry of economy and finance, Henri Engoulou. He died in pre-trial detention following his alleged involvement in the embezzlement of public funds, while serving in the capacity of minister delegate in charge of budget. Engoulou fell sick while awaiting trial at the Kondengui maximum security prison in Yaounde, and was transferred to the Yaounde central hospital where he died on May 8, 2014.

engoulouAnother example is the case of the former board president of credit foncier du Cameroon (CFC), Charles Booto A Ngon, who was slammed a 40-year jail term. Detained in July 2008 for siphoning public funds worth 3.5 billion FCFA in accomplice with Joseph Edou, former general manager of the CFC, he had since November 2008 suffered form a throat and back cancer, and was admitted at the Yaounde general hospital. All requests to fly him out for proper medical treatment fell on government deaf ears and on February 12, 2009, he equally was released from his ailing health and physical detention unto the cold embrace of death.

catherineA more recent case presents itself in the death of Catherine Abena, who died last March 19, 2014. The former secretary of state at the ministry of secondary education was arrested on January 8, 2010 and transferred to the Kondengui prison. On January 15, Catherine Abena went on hunger strike, and was thenceforth transferred to serve her term on a hospital bed in the Yaounde central hospital, where once more, death pulled her onto its definition of freedom.

The glaring examples set aside, it is however not news that since May 2, 2014 the former secretary general at the presidency, Jean Marie Atangana Mebara has been hospitalised,mebara after a malaise at the Kondengui central prison. Mebara has been in intensive care since then at the Yaounde general hospital. His frail health, according to his lawyer, Assira, accounts for his absence in court on May 8. Assira also revealed that Mebara suffers a pancreatic deficiency. On trial with the former ambassador of Cameroon to the United States of America, co-accused Jerome Mendouga over the embezzlement of over 2.5 billion FCFA in the albatross affair, the case was adjourned to June 2, hoping he gains his physical strength.

Likewise, the former minister of then ministry of the economy and finance, Polycarpe polycarpeAbah Abah, has been a constant visitor to the hospital due to his ailing health. Revisiting memory, he suffered a heart attack in April 2008 and was welcome for treatment at the central hospital in Yaounde. Since then, the former minister of the economy and finance has been a regular visitor to the hospital for check-ups.

On his part, the former secretary general at the presidency and former minister of marafaterritorial administration and decentralisation, Marafa Hamidou Yaya, detained at the basement of the state secretariat is equally in a state of not-too-good health. Coupled to protesting the deplorable detention conditions, he visited the national social insurance fund (CNPS) hospital last January 31, 2013 where he consulted an ophthalmologist. Marafa was said to be having eye problems, and reports are rife that his healthiness is also failing him.

Yves Michel Fotso, also detained at the basement of the state secretariat for defence yves michelequally has frail health. Reports gathered from close sources say the former general manager of the Cameroon Airlines Corporation (CAMAIRCO), in detention over the botched presidential plane equally endures the weight of fragile health.

CAMEROON RANKS 131st IN 2014 WORLD PRESS FREEDOM INDEX

The Reporters Without Borders 2014 world press freedom index has placed Cameroon at the 131st position, a drop from last year’s, which stood at 120.

Free the press

Free the press

According to Journalists Without Borders, which released the world press freedom index, press freedom in Africa is in a decline. Reporters Without Borders explains that “the climate for the media is getting tougher in Cameroon”. In its report, it reveals that “Security grounds are used when needed to defend increased control over the media or the repressive status quo”. The disclosure is exampled in that the “National Communication Council is trying to penalize coverage of the government’s cooperation with Nigeria in combating Boko Haram”.
However, like most countries in Central Africa, defamation laws are promulgated to keep media liberty at bay, and “corruption under wraps”.
Apart from central Africa where the index shows a decline, West Africa presents a much more worse and hostile atmosphere for the press. JWB holds that wars and terrorist threats have weakened the media in West Africa, with media control seen as a “strategic goal in conflicts”. In the Horn of Africa, poverty levels and authoritarianism make of civil liberties, the media inclusive, collateral victims.
Glaring examples abound in Somalia, with the Islamist militia Al-Shabaab which has “always targeted journalists as unwanted witnesses of its terrorist methods. With seven journalists killed in 2013, Somalia is Africa’s deadliest country for media personnel.” JWB further explains that “in November, Al-Shabaab deprived an entire region of television by seizing satellite dishes on the grounds they carried images that did not respect Islam. Information is seen as threat”.
Reporters Without Borders further elucidates that “this persecution is nonetheless also indicative of the immense power that journalists still wield as watchdogs. They make it possible for the population to see and hear, and they make sense out of scraps of information, fashioning it into something intelligible to all and thereby maintaining their importance, all the more so in time of war.

DEATH OF MARAFA SECRETARY BLAMED ON BIYA REGIME

A local English daily, The Guardian Post, reports that French media have blamed the Biya regime for the death of Christiane Soppo, Personal Secretary to one time Secretary of State at the Presidency of the Republic, Marafa Hamidou Yaya.
According to the Guardian Post’s Monday, April 7, 2014 edition, the French daily, Liberation holds that “the Cameroonian president jails opponents who are a threat”. The leftist French newspaper continues that the conditions of arrest and detention of the former Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, Marafa, prove he is not an ordinary prisoner. The paper reiterates that 55-year old Christiane Soppo’s death was orchestrated by the Biya regime to bury salient truths that could put his administration on rugged grounds.
Another French newspaper, Le Canard, clearly observes that “in Cameroon, no one seems to doubt the political motivation behind this murder, because for 25 years, Christiane Soppo has been personal secretary to Marafa, who was for long close to the current president”.
Whether this be true or not remains a debate, but according to a recently published US report on human rights in Cameroon, Marafa is believed to be indeed a political prisoner considering that some laws were violated during his trial.
According to lecamerounaisinfo, Marafat himself states that Christiane was assassinated for political motives. Cameroun24.net recounts that Christiane was assassinated probably after a phone call from her daughter, on Friday January 24, 2014.
Currently serving a 25-year jail which was slammed him in 2012, Marafa is detained at the State Secretariat for Defence, same place where Thierry Michel Atangana, also rumoured to have been a political prisoner, was detained for 17 years, before being released in February 2014 after presidential clemency.

RARE CASE OF SUSPECTED FEMALE-TO-FEMALE HIV INFECTION IN TEXAS

HIV/AIDS and Homosexuality may be turning bed fellows as days go by. The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) has published details of  a rare case of suspected female-to-female HIV infection. According to the CDC, a 46-year-old woman “likely acquired” the virus during a six-month monogamous relationship with a HIV-positive woman in Texas.

The CDC further revealed that the lady was infected with a strain that had a 98% genetic match to that of the originally 43-year old infected partner, who is said to have had a history of heterosexual relationships. Her originally infected partner is also reported to have stopped taking antiretroviral drugs in 2010.

With HIV/AIDS and talks on homosexuality no longer news in the ever growing world, experts however state that homosexuality is learned through a complex combination of shaping factors and personal choices. Suffice enough, since scientists have found no genetic proof that someone can actually be born gay.

BEDEVILED REUNIFICATION?

Barely a week after the presidential visit to Buea, on occasion of the celebration of Cameroon’s 50 years of Reunification, the settling dust seems to carry dissenting views into the eyes of the celebrants. Minds reel back to former President Ahmadou Ahidjo’s speech on October 1, 1961 where he asked “what is the need of a union bedeviled by divisions deeper than frontiers, quarrels opposing brothers, children and parents?

According to a report this morning on the National Radio Station, Fako Chiefs, after an extraordinary meeting in Wovia, Limbe, have threatened to pull out of the South West Chief’s Conference (SWCC). According to the Chief’s, the SWCC has been hijacked by over-zealous chiefs. They also decry amongst others, the shabby treatment by their peers, in that they were not consulted in an audience to receive the Head of State, Paul Biya. Issues also arise about funds raised by the South West Region, for the event, which according to Senator Peter Mafany Musonge, a son of the South West soil, was used up to the last franc. Though such is the advocated move, there are however dissenting voices as to the course of action.

Surprisingly in Buea, electricity supply has been on the rise and fall for the past three days, an utter versa from the estimated close to FCFA 4 Billion spent on water and electricity supply networks in Buea, on occasion of the event, as the Minister of Communication, Issa Tchiroma Bakary revealed, while speaking to the press in Yaoundé shortly after the date of the event was made public. One wonders if the estimated FCFA 35 Billion spent on Buea on occasion of the 50th anniversary of reunification will last a considerable time, even as some prominent works, like the reunification monument, seem to bear light weight, compared to its intended purpose.

In all, solace is once more drawn from Ahmadou Ahidjo’s sum that “Cameroonians should consider themselves as children of the same family, which disagreements can separate temporarily, but who still find in themselves deep links uniting them above all disorders”.

 

 

 

LOCAL RAFFIA WINE CLAIMS 7 LIVES

The choice is solely yours

The choice is solely yours

Settling on whether to drink whatever, is a personal verdict one passes on self, though we often do not decide to bear what follows slightly or lately after. Such was the case with seven persons on New Year’s night, who decided to drink distilled raffia wine, commonly called in Cameroon “Fofo”.

In Djohong, Wina Sub-Division, Mayo-Danay Division of the Far-North Region of Cameroon, 7 persons are said to have consumed the liquor after the burial of a relation. Few minutes after, six are said to have breathed their last, while the seventh, who offered them the drink, was rushed to the hospital with chronic diarrhoea. The quick rush to the Wina dispensary did not stop this other soul from departing the body, bringing the number of deaths to 7.

According to the 2004 World Health Organization (WHO) report on alcohol consumption in Cameroon, unrecorded alcohol consumption in Cameroon is estimated at 2.6 litres pure alcohol per capita for population older than 15 for the years after 1995 (estimated by a group of key alcohol experts), while the recorded consumption stood at above 7%. This could lead to addiction, which is another serious ailment related to alcohol consumption, a difficult situation to deal with.

 Even as speculations abound as to the kind of drink that ravaged the lives of 7 persons in less than an instant, the fact at hand remains that it is alcohol. While most consumers back up with expert views that one beer a day is needed for good body functioning, there are even more real facts about alcohol that everyone should get to know first. It is no lie that even a drop of alcohol can impair judgment for a few seconds, as well as for a lifetime.

NEW YEAR, NEW HOME FOR FATHER VANDENBEUSCH

Glad to be free

Glad to be free

Father Georges Vandenbeusch is to begin the New Year in an entirely different place from the abode he has occupied for the past seven weeks. The French priest who was kidnapped in Cameroon on November 17was released early Tuesday, December 31, 2013 according to an official statement from the French President. . He was welcomed back in France by President François Hollande, in Paris, on New Year’s Day.

The French cleric was abducted by Nigeria’s Islamist group Boko Haram near Koza in northern Cameroon, close to the border with Nigeria. According to his bishop, “around 15 gunmen burst into the compound in Nguetchewe where the priest worked”. President Hollande paid tribute to the “bravery” of the cleric, who was abducted from his parish by gunmen and moved to Nigeria.

Circumstances under which he was freed are still unclear, but the French Government insists no ransom was paid for his release, even as the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius added that there had been “discussions”.

The 42-year-old priest revealed he lived under a tree for almost a month and a half, where he had no access to reading material or radio. This, he said, was “terrible boredom sadness and anger because I’m very fond of the parish where I worked”.

Earlier, he told reporters in Cameroon: “I am in great shape, very grateful to all those who worked to free me.” At Villacoublay air base, Mr. Hollande thanked Cameroon’s President, Paul Biya, for his help in securing the cleric’s freedom.

The Islamic Boko Haram Group, which has been designated a terrorist group by the US had earlier this year abducted seven members of a French family called Moulin-Fournier – four of them children – in northern Cameroon and held hostage for two months.

REST IN PEACE, MADIBA!!!

Forever in our hearts

Forever in our hearts (c/afp)

Nelson Mandela, the South African Iroko, breathed his last yesterday December 4, 2013. The 95- year world figure passed away in his home in Johannesburg after battling with an ailing health.

According to the official announcement from President Jacob Zuma, he died shortly before 21:00 local time (19:00 GMT). The resilient Freedom Icon had been receiving intensive medical care at home for a lung infection after spending three months in hospital.

His journey on earth was a rich one, as the Freedom icon was considered a born leader in his homeland. Born in 1918, Rolihlahla Dalibhunga Mandela was raised in the village of Mvezo in the Transkei in the Eastern Cape. He was one of 13 children from a family with close links to the royal house of the Thembu people.

Remembered for his freedom fight, the winner of the Nobel Peace laureate in 1993 preached reconciliation despite a 27-year prison term he bore for the vision he had for the South African people.

BBC correspondents say Mr. Mandela’s body will be moved to a mortuary in the capital, Pretoria, and the funeral is likely to take place next Sunday, December 15 after official mourning that is expected to last 10 days. President Zuma mentioned that Madiba would receive a state burial, and flags flown at half-mast until after the funeral, in remembrance of the great African democrat.

Barely five months since he blew his 95th candle, life was blown out of him yesterday. The “greatest son our nation has had” as president Zuma put it, would be remembered through onward generations, as South Africa, Cameroon, Africa and the World at large bid

GENTLE FAREWELL MADIBA!!!

CAMEROON TO WAGE STRONGER BATTLE AGAINST CORRUPTION

According to the Corruption Perception Index 2013, Cameroon still maintains its 144th position out of 177 countries concerned, with a score of 25/100. This signifies no change from the same position occupied last year, and therefore ought to make greater strides to stamp out the cankerworm. issues of bribery are still on everyday Cameroonian lips.

According to the national bilingual daily, Cameroon Tribune, the Transparency International classification results were disclosed on December 3, 2013 during a conference in Yaoundé, by the President of Transparency International, Barrister Charles Nguini.

With the corruption survey focusing on the public sector in all concerned countries, Barrister Nguini stated that Cameroon’s classification stemmed from information furnished by 8 professional sources.

Cameroon occupied the 34th position out of 48 African countries, with the Central African Republic, Iran, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea and Ukraine also on the 144th position.

Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia, scored 8/100, placing them at the top of the list, while Denmark and New Zealand scored 91% to be apparently the least corrupt countries.

WALKER, NOT TOO FAST FOR DEATH !!!

The fast and furious star was snatched by the cold hands of death on Saturday, November 30, 2013, in a car crash in California.

Rest in Peace

Rest in Peace

Paul Walker, 40, was a passenger in a Porsche sports car driven by a friend – who also died – when it crashed north of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department said the crash happened in the community of Valencia. It said deputies found a car engulfed in flames when they responded to a report of a collision. Two people found in the car were pronounced dead at the scene.

“It is with a truly heavy heart that we must confirm that Paul Walker passed away today in a tragic car accident while attending a charity event for his organization, ‘Reach Out Worldwide’,” the statement on the actor’s Facebook page said.

Walker began acting as a young boy when his mother, a model, took him to auditions for commercials. After drifting away from acting, he got his big break when a casting director remembered him from years before, tracked him down and gave him a role in the TV series ‘Touched by an Angel’. Walker later won a recurring part in the soap ‘The Young and the Restless’ before moving on to supporting roles in teen films in the late 1990s with ‘Varsity Blues’, ‘She’s All That’ and ‘The Skulls’.

In action on 'Fast and Furious 6'

In action on ‘Fast and Furious 6’

After the success of the first Fast & Furious film, Walker became the leading man for the second installment when Vin Diesel dropped out. Walker played undercover agent Brian O’Conner in the Fast & Furious movies. The first film of the franchise was released in 2001 and the seventh which is in development began filming in September but has not been completed. It had been scheduled for release in July. Walker was one of the leading protagonists, along with Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez.

Walker has also filmed Hurricane Katrina drama Hours, which is due to be released on 13 December. Another forthcoming film is Brick Mansions, a remake of the French action film District B13, for film studio Relativity. Walker also starred in the suspense drama Hours, a movie that is set for release this month.

With his buddy, co-star Diesel

With his buddy, co-star Diesel

In grief, Diesel said in a post on Instagram: “Brother I will miss you very much. I am absolutely speechless. Heaven has gained a new Angel. Rest in Peace.”

CAMEROON’s 50th REUNIFICATION ANNIVERSARY: Preparations heighten ahead of celebrations.

Signatories to the reunification deal, Oct. 1, 1961 - Buea

Signatories to the reunification deal, Oct. 1, 1961 – Buea

Preparations for the long awaited Golden Jubilee of Cameroon’s Reunification have gotten into high gear, as the historic town of Buea gets set to welcome dignitaries from within and without, for the anniversary celebration  of the permanent fusion of former West Cameroon and East Cameroon on October 1, 1961.

But for the Reunification Monument, and the Open Air Amphi to host the cultural manifestations, all shows green light as work is completed by 80%. Work in Buea, which has soaked in over FCFA 30 billion for face-lifting projects; make the place ready for the commemoration’s sparkle, according to South West Governor, Bernard Okalia Bilai.

Speaking after a three-hour regional local planning committee meeting on November 26, he was confident that Buea will host the celebrations billed for this year. Committee meetings have been taking place, to make provision for the expected 30.000 visitors to the town of legendary hospitality: BUEA, where it all started.

Long live a reunified Cameroon: Sthn Cameroon delegates in Foumban, 1961

Long live a reunified Cameroon: Sthn Cameroon delegates in Foumban, 1961

Over in the nation’s capital, Yaounde, it was the turn of elites of the Manyu division of the South West Region, to converge in their cultural hall and systematize their own contributions for the national celebration.

On Friday November 22, 2013, the Minister of Youth Affairs and Civic Education, Bidoung Mkpatt, was in Buea, to assess march past rehearsals for the celebrations as well as chair the second preparatory meeting for the civilian march past.

Even as elites of the host region, as well Cameroonians in general are keyed up about the long-awaited commemoration, the actual date for the fruition of their entire bustle remains unknown.

WOBBLY PRESS FREEDOM IN CAMEROON?

The recent suspension of two local newspapers in Cameroon, have sparked up questions, as to the nation’s regard for freedom of the press.

Bishop Befe , NCC president: the priestly ombudsman told to tamper justice with mercy

Bishop Befe , NCC president: the priestly ombudsman told to tamper justice with mercy

Last Thursday, November 21, the National Communication Council (NCC), the media watchdog in Cameroon handed down to The Guardian Post and Ouest Littoral, three months suspension from publication, for the papers as well as for their publishers. According to the media supervisory body, the papers were found lacking in “ethics and professional conduct”, and charged with using derogatory words against personalities, who have complained to the NCC.

The NCC decision has sparked up a wave of bitterness amongst local publishers and editors, who among others say they doubt the process that led to the taking of the decision. As per a communiqué, Cameroon newspaper publishers on Wednesday November 27, 2013 in Yaoundé demanded the sanctions be “uplifted immediately and unconditionally”.

Is our freedom threatened?

Is our freedom threatened?

The NCC on her part stands its ground to say she is out for utmost respect of professional ethics by the media in Cameroon. After gaining regulatory rights in 2012, the council, moved from an observatory body to a “sanctioning” one. Earlier on in September, it handed down sanctions on some papers, for their lack of professional ethics and conduct, amongst them The Guardian Post which very recently gave a face-lift after its two-month suspension.

The wrangle goes on, as some pressmen question the authenticity and independence of the NCC which was created by presidential decree, and which has dealt sanctions after supposed hits on some of its officials by the sanctioned newspapers. Others simply believe it is a political arm to muzzle the press. But as it is often said, “who polices the ombudsman?”

Cameroon's beuty queen

Cameroon’s beauty queen

Cameroonian contestant, Denis Valerie Ayena, has secured a place for the Miss World contest, due to take place on September 28, 2013.

Of 127 contestants, 10 top model finalists were chosen last September 24, to compete for the prestigious title of the world’s most beautiful woman.

Miss World 2013 Finalist

Miss World 2013 Finalists

Competing with beauty queens from Ukraine, South Sudan, Brazil, Phillippines, France, Cyprus, England,Italy and the United States, Denise stands a chance of returning from Indonesia, with a title, not yet amassed by any Cameroonian: Miss World 2013.

MEET THE WORLD’S FIRST BIONIC MAN

Rex, the iron human

Rex, the iron human

True to the statement that “wonders would never end”, only the end may be a wonder. Rex was recently presented to the world as the first bionic man. Though with a human face, he has artificial organs, synthetic blood, robotic limbs and he can speak and listen, too.

Robotic limbs

Robotic limbs of the “human”

Unveiled at a special exhibition at London’s Science Museum this week, the artificial human was created for a Channel 4 documentary called How to Build a Bionic Man. The project cost £640k ($1m) and showcases the latest achievements and advancements in bionic technology and prosthetic science.

According to Channel 4’s science editor Tom Clarke, “his parts aren’t designed to work together, but each one either is, or soon could be, part of a living human being.”

PIRATE ATTACKS BECOME RAMPANT IN BAKASSI

Attacks by pirates in the Cameroonian peninsular of Bakassi, have been on the rise, ever since the territory was formerly handed over to Cameroon, on August 14, 2013.

Recently, on October 16, 2013, pirates, believed to have travelled from the Nigerian side, attacked three trawlers in the Bakassi waters around Rio Del Rey, shot the captain of one of them, and took two others hostage.

According to reports on a local newspaper, the victim, Jude Ajie, was spared, only after his ship engineer paid the pirates the sum of FCFA 1 million. This is obviously not new, as ransoms have been paid in past cases to pirates, notably, for the release of two CDC Malaysian workers; the French hostages taken in the North of Cameroon, to name but these.

On another instance, it was reported by another local newspaper( Mutations), that pirates hit the Cameroonian side on Tuesday, October 22, 2013. This time around, a group of 10 Nigerian pirates targeted a Nigerian fisherman, who operated with a Cameroonian license in Cameroonian waters. They took the captain of the trawler, together with his mechanic.

Though trusted sources reveal that the 10-man group could well be responsible for the last attack, the group is yet unnamed. However, the security element, BIR Delta, charged with ensuring the safety of all on the peninsular, attests to the proper organization of the pirates as compared to other known groups, which are well armed.

These pirates, target not only humans to demand a ransom, but equally seize flying boats, outboard engines, and any other valuable that can bring in cash.

A top military official however believes these recurrent attacks are as a result of BIR Delta’s concentration around oil fields, to the detriment of the population, whom he says, have to be the focus. He therefore proposes, as remedy, that elements of the Rapid Intervention Battalion, BIR Delta, be in every boat, to curb the worsening situation of pirate attacks, especially in Cameroonian waters.