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Renowned Anti-separatist Leader Dies in Cameroon

The Mayor of Buea, a city in Anglophone Cameroon where separatist fighters hope to make their country’s capital, has dropped dead.

By Kesah Princely and Regis Che

Ekema Patrick Esunge, according to local media reports, died of cardiac arrest on Sunday October 27, in a private hospital in Douala, a Francophone city near the South West — one of the two Anglophone regions witnessing the wrath of the deadly Ambazonian war of independence.

Ekema the anti-separatist patriot!

Ekema Patrick with Paul Biya, president of Cameroon during the latter’s visit to Buea, February 2014. Image courtesy: Mimi Mefo Info

The late Mayor, during his six-year tenure, used the last three years battling against seccessionist fighters who have been making attempts to recapture the heartland Buea, a city they refer to as the capital of their country, Ambazonia.

The erstwhile leader was consistent in his resolve to frustrate the activities of those he termed terrorists, and whom he said were out to “destabilise the peace and unity of Cameroon.”

When leaders of the ongoing crisis in the English-speaking part of Cameroon announced that acts of civil disobedience such as ghost towns and lockdown operations would be imposed to cause the government to lose its grip on their territory of Ambazonia, charismatic Mayor Ekema responded by promising the procurement of 50 township taxis to ply the streets of his municipality on such days.

Supporters of the Biya regime have been pouring in tributes to a man who some have described as “a patriot and pillar of national unity.”

His death comes barely a month after he took part in a national dialogue organized by the country’s long-time president to deescalate the growing tension in the North West and South West regions. It is estimated that the crisis has cost the lives of about 3000 persons, according to International Crisis Group.

The last time the close to 50 year-old Ekema Patrick was seen challenging separatist fighters in Buea, was on Monday October 21, when he stormed the streets, sharttering Mobile Money kiosks and sealing shops whose owners respected traditional separatist-imposed ghost town day.

Celebrations welcome mayor’s demise

When news of his demise broke out on Sunday, some locals jubilated, describing the leader as one who oppressed people in his jurisdiction. The news of the mayor’s death also saw mixed emotions on social media, with many pro-Ambazonians celebrating the end of a man they saw as a stumbling block to “the struggle”.

EboniGram hooked up with some citizens of the town and a man who just stepped down from a taxi revealed the driver refused collecting any dime from him as a way to celebrate the fall of the anti-Ambazonian patriarch.

The taxi owner is said to have been one of those whose vehicle’s tyres had all been punctured by the late Mayor for respecting ghost towns. The said driver had to close work early on Sunday evening to celebrate the death of the Mayor who he said was a “thorn in their flesh,” our source said.

Meantime, some bikers in Buea who have been out of work for over a year now following a ban by the late mayor, say they are hopeful that they can once again regain their original jobs to sustain their families. Earlier in 2018, the deceased Ekema Patrick banned the circulation of bikes in Buea, stating that they facilitated the movement of secessionist “rebels.

Locals are now anxious to see how life in Buea will look like without the “no nonsense and fearless” Ekema. The anxiety, many say, is because Mayor Ekema Patrick had high influence over his Municipality.

His security measures for over three years, perturbed Ambazonian fighters from easily having control over the place he named “The City Of Excellence.”

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