Police have arrested two campus guards at the University of Buea, where a mysterious fire gutted the parked vehicle of Dr Fontem Neba at the weekend.
The arrests came almost immediately after the fire was reported and indicated police may be treating the incident as arson.
Neba is a trade unionist who has a history of conflicts with the university authorities over the working conditions of faculty and the general management of the institution.
He is now a member of the steering committee of the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC), which is leading protests across Anglophone regions to demand a federal system of government to allow Cameron’s English speakers chart their future.
Neba was in Bamenda attending a meeting with government officials to examine the teachers’ grievances responsible for an indefinite strike that has crippled schools, including lectures at the University of Buea.
The fire started sometime in the night on Saturday. Photos from the scene showed what looked like a Toyota Carina completely burned. A second car parked nearby was unaffected.
Investigators are not commenting on what they have learned about the fire, which went up outside the university dispensary, where the two guards were posted.
Arson? Police are not commenting on investigation into UB car fire
Activists condemned the fire, calling it persecutions against Neba for his anti-establishment activities.
“We strongly condemn such violence and are surprised that the government has not said a word about this shameful incident,” Nkongho Felix, the president of Fako Lawyers Association and CACSC steering committee member, said in a statement.
“As a community, we condemn all our brothers and sisters who toy with our destiny and think that they are justified in sowing division among us or spreading hatred.”
Neba was using a second car and has not been immobilized by the incident. But supporters have started a go fund me campaign to raise $10,000 (about CFA 6 million) to replace the car. On Tuesday at 12.30pm, the campaign had raised more than $17,000.
“Dr Fontem Neba, like other consortium members has resisted bribery. Corruption, death threats, abuse and all forms of violence simply because he has embarked on a winning struggle to lead the rescue of West Cameroon from the claws of regime gangsters, who have held us hostage for more than half a century,” said Tapang Ivo, who started the fundraising campaign.