South West: Chief Ikome Dies In Captivity

At press time the two other chiefs taken hostage with Dibanda ruler were reported back from kidnap alive.

Chief Ikome Emmanuel Ngale, 59, and traditional ruler of Dibanda village has died in the forest under gunmen’s captivity. His mortal remains are currently in the Buea General Hospital mortuary. Chief Ikome was kidnapped in his own palace by 2.30 pm Sunday (13 December, 2020) and was found dead later in the day in a nearby forest directed by a phone call. The 59-year-old Traditional Ruler of Dibanda Village (Mile 14) is the third in a row to be taken hostage and killed during the current Anglophone crisis after Chief Mbanda of Lisoka last year and Chief Molinga Francis Nangoh Liwu La Malaleh last 6 November, 2020. The Dibanda traditional council chair, Tegkoh Amstrong, informed this reporter at press time that the two other Chiefs kidnapped with Chief Ikome had returned to their palaces. Accompanied by the Command staff, the Divisional Officer for Buea, Abba Abdouraman, and the Member of Parliament for Buea Urban, Malomba Esembe, visited the Dibanda Palace and scene of the kidnap to condole with the bereaved family. They met late Chief Ikome’s widow, Miranda, and the Chairman of Dibanda’s Traditional Council who narrated the incident.

Cameroon Tribune gathered that on that fateful day (Sunday, 13 December); Chief Ikome was transferring (moving house) from an old residence to his new house recently constructed. He invited his colleagues of Bolifamba (Chief Kombe) and Lower Bokova (Chief Iwele) among a host of attendees. Midway into the ceremony gunshots shrouded the village and the three chiefs were marched at gunpoint to the nearby bushes by unidentified persons bearing arms. The Chairman of Dibanda Village Traditional Council, Tegkoh Amstrong, recounted that those gunmen had earlier invaded a nearby beer selling shop, surrendered and kidnapped the owner before moving to the palace to take the chiefs.

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Tegkoh explained to the Divisional Officer for Buea in Dibanda Palace that they later received phone calls asking if the Chief was a patient. “We replied no”, he said. And the callers voiced that the chief was dead and lying at a place which they properly described. The Traditional Council Chair rallied some youths and together they went to bring back the corpse to the villageand eventually to the Buea Regional Hospital Annex mortuary. Speaking in the Dibanda Palace, the Divisional Officer for Buea urged the population to always and quickly communicate to the Administration or the Forces all strange happenings in the precincts. Corroborating the Administrator, Honourable Malomba Esembe called on the population to form a bastion against enemies of peace.

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