An outburst of wailing amidst music of the military band greeted the caskets bearing the mortal remains of some 39 soldiers at the Yaounde Military Headquarters, Friday March 6, 2015, after the arrival of the Minister Delegate in the Presidency in charge of Defence at the ceremonial ground at 10 a.m. Relatives, friends, colleagues and acquaintances of the departed soldiers, 38 of whom died in the war against Boko Haram terrorist group in the Far North Region and one in the United Nations Peace-keeping Integrated Multinational Operation in the Central African Republic, swamped the precincts of the military headquarters to bid farewell to the deceased soldiers.
The ceremony organised to pay last respect to those who had sacrificed their lives while defending the national colours, brought together people of all spectra of life ranging from Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament, amongst others, in a show of solidarity with the defence forces in the war against the terrorist sect.
The weeping was even louder when the names of the departed soldiers were read for posthumous decoration with the Medal of Bravery as decreed by the President of the Republic and Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, Paul Biya. The Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defence, Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo’o, the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Defence in charge of War Veterans and War Victims, Koumpa Issa and the Army Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Reneacute Claude Meka, took turns to place the medals of valour on the caskets wrapped with the national colours.
Throughout the two-hour ceremony organised in strict military fashion, family members and friends of the deceased could not hold back their tears. It took the intervention of elements of the Fire Fighting Brigade alongside medical staff of the military to take one of the relatives, who could not withstand the shock, for immediate first aid. Besides relatives who shed tears, most onlookers could not hide their grief as they mourned the departed heroes.
A compassionate handshake by Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo’o consoled the widow and family members as the Minister expressed the Presidential couple’s compassion to the families. It should be recalled that the 39 soldiers died in separate Boko Haram incursions between November 2014 and February 2015. Some of the young widows were either pregnant or carried young children of less than five years old.
Source : Cameroon Tribune