18, July 2017
An investigation is underway and a crisis committee has been set up after the sinking of a military vessel that left Douala on Sunday morning en route to the Bakassi peninsula. The nation’s military spokesman confirmed late yesterday that 34 soldiers were missing and that there were only three survivors. The boat was ferrying soldiers of the Rapid Intervention Battalion BIR, on a logistical mission transporting equipment destined for the military base in Bakassi.
According to a statement from the Cameroon army, the ship was an LCM, a ship designed to carry and disembark vehicles. It was commissioned in 2009 and was currently shuttling between Limbe and Bakassi on the border with Nigeria. It carried “supplies and equipment” for BIR’s civil-military activities in the peninsula. The Rapid Response Battalion is currently building infrastructure there and carries out development work.
The army says the sea was very rough on that fateful Sunday and the weather conditions abruptly deteriorated. And it was six in the morning when the “Mundemba” sank with 37 people on board. According to Colonel Didier Badjeck, bad weather was responsible for the accident. “This zone is a zone that is particularly dangerous and so the weather can change very, very brutally. Sure they were caught in a bad wave that had to overturn the boat. The operation station immediately lost the boat. There was no alert from the crew. It’s an accident that happened suddenly, “he says.
For the time being, rescue operations are continuing. The navy has deployed its diving teams, but the chances of finding survivors are dwindling hour by hour. A source inside the military hinted Cameroon Concord News that the army was now involved in a recovery operation.
By Rita Akana
Cameroon Concord News