On November 14, the military stormed St. Elizabeth Catholic General Hospital and Cardiac Centre of the Archdiocese of Bamenda in search of a suspected separatist fighter.
In a statement shared with ACI Africa, Wednesday, December 8, the Director of the hospital recounts the events of November 14 at the Catholic health institution.
“The number of the military men could not be easily determined but they came in three (03) armored cars. They were armed with sophisticated weapons and dressed in combat attire. A frightful scene for all, especially for patients in a hospital setting,” Sr. Anshoma Helen Mbuoh explains.
Sr. Mbuoh adds, “The Military requested for the Emergency Unit of the Hospital, as they claimed to be searching for Amba boys that were brought for treatment in the Hospital that same morning.”
“I took them to the Out Patient Department, which serves as the emergency unit and where all consultations in the Hospital begin,” the Catholic Nun recounts, and continues, “Not satisfied with this, they insisted to be taken to the Emergency Unit with the inscription on the door but were calmly told that all cases are brought to the Out Patients' Unit for consultation.”
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The member of the Tertiary Sisters of St. Francis further recalls her experience with the military men at the Catholic hospital, “Here too, they were told that emergency treatment is administered and those with indication of admission are normally sent to the appropriate units.”
“They (military) took the Registers and went through it thoroughly. Then they resorted to a thorough search of the entire Hospital. They moved from Ward to Ward and from Unit to Unit. The Dispensary, Admission Room, Men's Medical Unit, the Pediatric Unit, the Females' Medical Unit, the Surgical Units I & II, the Maternity and the Theatre were all bumped into, with patients and little children and babies and pregnant women in them,” she explains.
Sr. Mbuoh continues, “Not finding the Amba Boys they were looking for, they started insulting and threatening the Reverend Sisters. They even threatened to shoot the Sisters in the leg if they did not indicate where they had hidden and are treating the Amba Boys in the Hospital.”
Two security officers on duty were arrested and systematically interrogated, the Catholic Nun recounts in the statement shared with ACI Africa December 8, adding that the security offers “were asked, at gunpoint, to show where the Amba Boys were hidden.”
“The response from the Guards was clear and concise. Their responsibility starts with receiving all the patients and then forward to the Out patients' Department, where the cases are taken over by the Nurses and Doctors,” she recounts.
Not satisfied with this explanation, the Catholic Nun says “the military exercised brute force on the security officers. They were severely beaten with the butts of the guns and kicked with their military boots. They all sustained injuries and swollen faces.”
“At the end of the search, at about 3:30 p.m., some of the military men expressed remorse and indicated that their action was exaggerated. However, some of them continued with their threats to the Sisters and the Hospital,” Sr. Mbuoh says about the November 14 incident at the Catholic hospital.
They warned that the next time they would be back, they will set the entire hospital on fire, Sr. Mbuoh recalls what the military men said in the statement shared with ACI Africa.
Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.