In Kumba, southwest Cameroon, the calm was deceptive, Friday. A convoy of the Cameroonian elite military force known as BIR attracted about a thousand people in a few minutes. The special forces were displaying the body of the separatist leader, Oliver Lekeaka, known as Field Marshall.
The fighter had been giving the army a hard time. He was wanted for his crimes against the military and inhabitants of the Lebialem department in the English-speaking region. He was eventually killed during a raid by the Cameroonian army on his camp.
Authorities insist this military success demonstrates the radical change in the balance of power in the war.
"If we have been able to neutralize him, be assured, that those who remain, namely "No Pity" and "Ten Kobo" will also be neutralized in the very near future, Chamberlin Ntou’ou Ndong, the prefect of the Mémé department said. Speaking in the name of of the Head of State, the ministers and the Prime Minister here in the department, I can assure you that they will be neutralized one by one."
The residents say they are relieved and can return home because for a long time they were living in hell.
"At last, a bit of peace, Papa Paul sighs. This person who was killed frightened us, he terrorized us since at night when they came to attack and fire shots. We're thankful the army brought us a little peace."
These past few months, relative calm in daytime and at night enabled inhabitants to get back to their businesses. Political analyst Suleiman Mohammed insists victory must not be claimed too quickly. For him, the death of one man will not instantly bring back security.
"The only way out of this crisis is not to kill these boys, the solution is to sit down and talk, talk at the same table, he says. But the death of Field Marshal will not change the situation because the amba boys are very determined for this battle since 2016 until now it will be 6 years in November 2022."
According to the Nowergian Refugee Counsel NRC, the war in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon is one of the most neglected crises in the world. The conflict has put more than 60,000 people on the road of exile towards neighbouring Nigeria. 700,000 Cameroonians are now internally displaced.