On Monday, at least 20 people died in two serious traffic accidents in Cameroon.
A truck transporting laterite for road works reportedly suffered brake failure in
Bambili, the University village in Tubah Subdivision, Mezam Division of the North West Region, thereby crushing three people to death and seriously injuring six others. The accident happened at the major road junction into the Bambili main campus of the University of Bamenda.
Sources on-the-spot blamed the accident on brake failure by the truck that was reportedly transporting laterite for road rehabilitation works in the neighbourhood. Victims could not be immediately identified, but passersby suggested that the dead included the driver of the truck, the conductor and another conductor in a nearby Toyota Hilux pickup vehicle selling fuel wood.
The six who suffered serious injuries included commercial motorcycle riders and public pay phone operators who often crowd the junction. Meanwhile, North West Governor, Adolphe Lele Lafrique and the Vice Chancellor of the University of Bamenda, Prof. Therese Nkuo Akenji, visited the scene. The Governor took measures for the corpses to be taken to mortuary while investigations were opened to determine the cause of the accident. He also ordered that the truck involved in the accident be cleared immediately.
Meanwhile that same Monday 16th May 2016 on the Bafoussam-Doula motorway, around Njombe- Mbanga, a Hiace from Loum, collided head to head with a truck, leaving 15 dead and seven seriously injured. This is the fourth fatal accident on this motorway linking Bafoussam and Douala within the last three weeks. A few weeks ago, many people were roasted to ashes after a fire engulfed three vehicles at an accident site, 111 km from Yaounde on the highway to Ayos. More than 10,000 people died in road accidents in Cameroon last year, according to the transport ministry.
The Secretary of State for Defence in charge of the National Gendarmerie in Cameroon, Jean Baptiste Bokam, from May 7-8, 2016, undertook a lightning night tour of the Centre, West and Littoral Regions. This was in a bid to check the recklessness of motorists. He was accompanied by Major General Laurent Claude Angouand, Director of Central Administration and Logistics at Gendarmerie Headquarters, and about seven colonels.
Speaking to the media on different laps of the trip, the Secretary of State for Defence in charge of the National Gendarmerie said road accidents tend to have the same causes most of the time. These are over-speeding, poor parking, the fatigued or drunken state of motorists, overloading, and the poor technical state of vehicles. “It appears that as efforts are stepped up to oblige motorists to respect traffic regulations, the less they seem to pay attention. The only option is to intensify our campaign by punishing erring motorists through fines and other measures,” Jean Baptiste Bokam noted.
“This is not the time to give up. Instead, we need to change the trend by continuing with road safety awareness campaigns to help motorists become more responsible on highways. Consequently, we have changed our strategy by no longer confining gendarmes to particular spots. Instead, they now patrol highways in order to catch erring motorists in the act,” he revealed. At Balamba in the Mbam and Inoubou Division of the Centre Region, the Secretary of State ordered the impoundment of a truck parked at a bend. Further checks of the lorry revealed that the driver had packets of Tramol drug. He claimed to be returning from Kousseri in the Far North Region where he went to supply pear.
Two other vehicles were impounded in Balamba and officers of the local Gendarmerie Post directed to prepare and forward the report to the State Counsel in Bafia; ensuring that they copied Gendarmerie Headquarters. The traffic offences here included overloading, smashed windscreens, lack of driving licence and night parking lighting boards, dangerous overtaking, and failure to put on safety belts.
There were similar impromptu vehicle checks by Jean Baptiste Bokam and team in Makenene in Mbam and Inoubou Division, Bantoum in Nde Division of the West Region, and Melong in Moungo Division of Littoral Region. In cases of overloading, the gendarmerie boss ordered concerned drivers to refund the fares of the passengers to continue their trips in other vehicles.