30, December 2019
Ossing is once more bereaved. Its regent chief, Mr. Mathias Ako, a retired civil servant, has been murdered by some men of the underworld. His body was dumped between Kembong and Mfuni and pictures of what was done to his body are too graphic to be posted online.
This unfortunate situation is playing out just a few months after the city lost its chief, General James Tataw Tabe-Orock, a man who ensured that soldiers did not come into the city when the Southern Cameroons crisis began.
This is a big blow to the city and many hands are on deck to bring those responsible for this heinous crime to book. Eyewitness reports have indicated that the hit-men are natives of Kembong, a town some 4km from Ossing, while the masterminds of the crime are natives of Ossing.
Two scenarios have emerged, all pointing to personal grudges against the regent chief who was just deputizing for the late chief Tataw. The people of Ossing are still investigating and are enabling government authorities to do their job.
It should be underscored that the regent chief was not interested in assuming that role, but the people of Ossing had brought pressure to bear on him and being a development-oriented person, he yielded; a decision that has cost him his life.
Since the matter is still under investigation, the names of the suspects have been withheld to let the authorities do their job in all neutrality and since the current socio-political situation is unsettling and chaotic, witnesses are unwilling to speak up.
Various citizens of Ossing have said they saw the hit-men taking away the regent chief and he never returned to his native Ossing. They added that that was not the first time they were kidnapping him. On other occasions, the hit men had been brought to the city because it was alleged that the regent chief had some money on him.
The criminals, who are using the current socio-political situation in the country, had once accused the city’s regent chief of collaborating with government officials, an allegation that has been proven to be unfounded.
Some outsiders have been floating the idea that a chieftaincy dispute could be at the center of the murder, a point that is being verified. It should however be pointed out that Ossing has stood out as an example of democracy in the entire Southwest region where there has never been a chieftaincy dispute.
Ossing is the place where Manyu Division’s major languages converge. That is why it is generally referred to as a bilingual village because both major languages native to Ossing. The city is constituted of two ethnic groups, the Bayangs and Ejaghams who have come out with a governing model that has spared them the scourge of war that has devastated the city’s neighbors.
Ossing has a rotatory governing system that allows power to move from one ethnic group to the other in a very seamless manner. Late General Tataw was made chief by his Ejagham folks and after his death, the Bayangs are now choosing their chief in all serenity. The regent chief could not have qualified to be the chief and killing him on such grounds makes no sense to the people of Ossing.
It should also be pointed out that the military is not to blame for the regent chief’s death and any insinuation that the government might have targeted the regent chief is being rejected by the people of Ossing who hold that they know some of the hit-men.
The investigations are ongoing, and the police are hot on the trails of those who took away the life of a man who simply wanted to hold his community together.
The people of Ossing are peace-loving people and they have worked very hard to live in peace with their neighbors, especially as many of their relatives come from neighboring villages and towns. However, it is hard to vouch for all the citizens of a city, as everybody grows up to have their own character and approach to life.
By Dr. Joachim Arrey