In the early hours of the morning of Sunday July 18, 2021 a member of the ARFs was brought to the Catholic Health Centre of Bali Nyonga with life-threating injuries. The Nurse on duty was threatened to fetch the Doctor or the Health Centre would be burnt down. Getting to the Doctor’s apartment, he was commanded to go with them and treat the wounded Amba militia. After treating the patient he and the others left the health unit.

The following day, Monday July 19, at about 9:30 A.M. the Health Centre was invaded by the Cameroonian military who proceeded to search the entire building while others interrogated the Matron of the Health Centre Rev Sister Patience Bomki and the members of staff who were present. After conducting the search the government forces referred the Matron as a liar and revealed that they got intelligence that an ARF was attended to in the health facility. The Matron told DHPI that in the course of the questioning she was being forced to admit that the member of the ARFs had been treated in the Health Centre. However, she told them that so many patients had been attended to on that day who had wounds of one sort or the other. She revealed that she was harassed with some of them pointing their rifles at her to such an extent that she went down on her knees and pleaded with them that she and her entire staff were there simply to save lives and work for humanity. The registers were promptly confiscated and after interrogation, the Doctor Mr PoO’O Denis was ordered into the military vehicle and taken to the police station while the Matron was instructed to contact the Nurse who had received the said patient and get him to present himself in the Police Station for questioning.

The Matron and the Nurse got to the Police Station shortly after and the statement of the Nurse was taken. The Doctor and the Nurse were detained and upon inquiry the Matron was told that they will be taken to Bamenda for further investigation. In the meantime the Parish Priest of Saint Francis Xavier Parish Bali arrived the Police Station and the Commissioner told him that a case had been opened for the Doctor and Nurse and they were to be taken to Bamenda for formal proceedings.

The Doctor and the Nurse were taken to Bamenda on Tuesday July 20 and detained in the Judicial Police Station. The Parish Priest of Bali drove to Bamenda and reported the incident to the Archbishop who immediately dispatched the Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Bamenda to check on and follow up the proceedings with the Doctor and the Nurse in detention. The Commissioner of the Judicial Police told the Chancellor that the Doctor was charged with failure to report to the authorities that he had treated a patient from bullet wounds whereas the Nurse was charged with attending to a member of the ARF.

A lawyer was hired for the detainees and the case is supposed to be heard for the first time today Tuesday July 27, 2021.

As this story unfolds we note that the Matron and the staff of the Health Centre were harassed in the process of interrogation and the patients who watched this action got traumatized from the whole process. Moreover, following the principles of impartiality and neutrality in International Humanitarian Law, the health institute simply attended to a human being who was in need of medical care. Whether he was a state rebel or not was not supposed to be taken into consideration.

This act of the government is in total disregard of the Geneva Convention of 1949, and it follows closely on the suspending of the activities of the NPO known Doctors Without Borders in the conflict-ridden Northwest and Southwest Regions of the country for 7 months as at today’s date.

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