On Saturday April 27th, 2019, the Chairman of the Social Democratic Front (SDF), Ni John Fru Ndi was kidnapped by alleged separatist fighters while leading a convoy to bury a fallen Parliamentarian of the party in Kumbo, Bui Division of the North West Region. The SDF Parliamentary Group Leader, Hon. Joseph Banadzem Lukong died on March 30th this year at the Yaoundé General Hospital after an illness.
After the death of Hon. Banadzem, separatist fighters hitherto sworn that he will not be buried in Kumbo because he did not resign from Parliament when they asked all Anglophone MPs and Senators to do so. They however changed their minds days to the burial and accepted that his remains will be buried in the North West region on the condition that government officials and those they consider as black legs will not be present at the burial.
The SDF Chairman was however determined to give Hon. Banadzem a burial befitting of his status. After a heavily attended mass at the Ntarikon residence of the Chairman in honor of the deceased, Ni John Fru Ndi was leading a delegation to Kumbo when his convoy was intercepted at Wainama by unidentified gunmen and he was taken away.
Hours later, a short video recorded by his kidnappers emerged on the social medial. In the video, he was asked why he has refused to call back senators and members of parliament from the Cameroon parliament.
Resolute and fearless as always, the SDF chairman said he cannot call them back because Parliament gives him the forum to speak to the Cameroon government ‘’I cannot call them to come back because if they come back, I will not be able to talk to Biya the way I’m talking. It gives me the forum to talk. You are talking today about Wirba, where did Wirba start talking? Is it not in parliament?’’
Separatist fighters have on several occasions called on all Anglophone senators, MPs and Mayors to resign from their functions in order to weaken the control of the Cameroon government over the two English speaking regions. The SDF party of Ni John Fru Ndi has however not respected this call because they differ with Separatists over the form of the state; they want federation and not separation.
Last year, the residence of Chairman Ni John Fru Ndi in Baba 2 was set on fire and his sister was kidnapped but later released.
Few days ago, the SDF Chairman while talking to reporters disclosed that his brother and two of his workers were kidnapped recently. The kidnappers accused him of sending elements of the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) after them for burning his house but he strongly denied this allegation.
He added that the kidnappers were demanding the sum of 6 million FCFA and 5 guns, without which, he will risk never seeing his brother again. The SDF Chairman also promised hell to the kidnappers if he doesn’t see his brother ‘’ they asked me to provide 6 million FCFA and 5 guns or I will not see my brother again. I told them that if I don’t see my brother, they themselves will not see the light of day. This is not the Anglophone cause… children should be allowed to go to school and women should be allowed to go to their farms’’ Ni John Fru Ndi said.
The SDF Chairman was released hours after his abduction.
In a release, the 1st Vice President of the SDF, Hon. Joshua Osih said the Chairman successfully returned home after visiting the grave of Hon. Banadzem. The release added that the chairman discussed with his abductors and maintained that he will not call back Senators and MPs from the parliament.