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Albert Ebosse’s Remains Arrive Cameroon On Thursday

Below is the introductory statement of the Minister of Communication during a press conference in Yaounde on August 27, 2014, following the passing on to glory of the professional footballer in Algeria.

“The Minister of Sports and Physical Education,

The President of the Cameroonian Football Federation Normalization Committee,

The Secretary General of the Ministry of Communication,

The Inspector General,

 Distinguished Technical Advisers,

Distinguished Inspectors,

Distinguished Directors and Heads of Division,

Distinguished Collaborators,

Distinguished Journalists,

Dear Invitees,

Allow me to wish you all a warm welcome in this conference hall of my Ministry to talk today on the tragic passing away of our compatriot, professional footballer, EBOSSE BOJONGO Albert Dominique, player of the Algerian football club, « Jeunesse Sportive of Kabylie », abbreviated as « JSK », professional first division club in Algeria.

That notwithstanding, allow me to first of all acknowledge the presence here of H.E. the Minister of Sports and Physical Education, and that of the President of the Normalization Committee of Cameroon’s Football Federation (FECAFOOT), who have in spite of their tight agenda, accepted to take part in this press briefing mindful of the importance of the issue at hand.

Your Excellency the Minister of Sports and Physical Education, the President of the Normalization Committee of FECAFOOT, you are all welcome here in the Ministry of Communication. 

Distinguished Journalists,

Distinguished Invitees,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As you are all aware, our compatriot, Mr. EBOSSE BOJONGO Albert Dominique, passed away on the night of Saturday, August 23, 2014 at the Teaching Hospital Centre of  Nedir Mohamed of Tizi-Ouzou, a town located about 110 kilometers East of Algiers, the capital of Algeria.

His remains were later transferred to the military Hospital of Aïn Naâdja in Algiers, pending repatriation to Cameroon.

According to a statement released by the court Department of Tizi-Ouzou, which announced the preliminary results of the autopsy, ordered by the said court, the death of Mr. EBOSSÈ occurred as a result of trauma caused by a blunt and sharp object, provoking an internal bleeding of the deceased.

Several sources on the scene of the tragedy revealed that the Cameroonian footballer, striker, was hit by a fatal object, while returning to the vestry with his teammates, at the end of the match pitting his JSK club against Union Sportive Medina of Algiers (USM).

 It is no doubt, that some supporters of JSK Kabylie, who were furious at the defeat of their club in a home game derby against Union Sportive Medina of Algiers (USM), attacked the players of their own team by throwing objects at them.

It is therefore under these circumstances that our compatriot was hit before being transported to the Teaching Hospital Centre of Tizi-Ouzou, where he passed away a few moments later. Born on October 6, 1989 in Douala, the victim was just 25 years old at the time of his death.

Mr. Albert EBOSSE signed his first football licence with PMUC FC of Douala in 2004. He was then only 15 years old. The following year, he signed for Mont Cameroon FC of Buea, where he played until 2006 before signing for Kumba Lakers. In 2007, he made his first international outing to Gabon with his transfer to SOGEA FC, a Gabonese first division club.

On his coming back to Cameroon in 2008, he signed in for Coton Sport of Garoua, and then went back for training in 2009 at the Friendship Football Academy. On that same year, he signed in for Unisport of Haut Nkam in 2010, before integrating the Douala Athletic Club in 2011.

He continued with his international career in 2012 by signing in for Perak FA in Malaysia, where he played for only one year before joining JSK Kabylie in 2013. Champion of Cameroon in 2010 with Coton Sport of Garoua, he was part of the 2011 Unisport of Haut Nkam squad that reached the final of the Cup of Cameroon.

In 2014, he played the final of the Algeria Cup with his JSK club, before finishing Vice-Champion of the Algerian first division soccer league that same year. He was at the end of that same soccer season voted best scorer in Algerian championship with 17 goals to his tally.

 During his final game last Saturday, Albert EBOSSÈ scored the lone goal of his club, despite their home defeat.  The news of the tragic death of Albert EBOSSÈ was received with a lot of chock owing to the circumstances surrounding its occurrence. Speaking of this unbearable tragedy, the Algerian Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. MOHAMED TAHMI, qualified the incidence as a "crime."

Coming out of his reserve, the Minister of State, the Algerian minister of the Interior and Local Collectivities, Mr. TAYEB BELAÏZ, on his part called for, and I quote: « appropriate sanctions against this act that has brought shame to Algeria», end of quote.

The President of the Algerian Football Federation (FAF), Mr. Mohamed Raouraoua expressed his profound regret, dismay and sympathy following this act which he described as heinous and unspeakable, as well as expressed his wish to see that the authors are severely punished.

The President of the Professional Football League (LFP) in Algeria, Mr. MAHFOUD Kerbadj, who watched the match along with the new coach of the Desert Foxes, the national team of Algeria, Christian Gourcuff, qualified the incidence as a disaster for the Algerian football.

Deploring this act of unwanted violence, the President of the Football League in Algeria spoke in these terms, and I quote: "An unfortunate action has cost the life of a young player who, in one season, succeeded to woe the heart of thousands of Algerians. He was a talented player, as evidenced by the top scorer title in 2013-2014. He was also highly regarded by his teammates and his opponents of the day for his great human qualities, "end of quote.

The President of the Algerian Football Professional League went on to declare, and I quote him once again: « The League considers it to be a crime committed on a football pitch. Throwing a stone on players- giving that all the players were targeted and not specifically EBOSSE- is practically unacceptable. We have shown a bad image for us who are Arabs and Moslems and who are supposed to appropriately welcome our guests», end of quote.

The president of JS Kabylie, Mr. MOH CHERIF HANNACHI, could not hold back his tears in such a difficult situation, both for Kabylie club and the family of the deceased and I quote: "I lack words to express my deep sorrow for such an act. The death of EBOSSÈ is an enourmous blow to us", end of quote.

Speaking on Radio Monte Carlo Sport, the French coach, Rolland Courbis, who trained USM of Algiers, during the 2012-2013 season, paid in his own way and in his own words tribute to our young compatriot shortly after the announcement of his death and  I quote: "I know him so well. He is a great and good player. He is such a great and wonderful player. He is a Tarzan, a generous, willful, and athletic player, "end of quote.

The French international player, Rio Antonio ZOBA MAVUBA, captain of Olympique Lillois, French first league club, expressed his sympathy on his Twitter account, and I quote: "Football should be a source of emotion, and not a source of such sadness. Albert, may your soul rest in perfect peace” end of quote.

Reacting soon after the announcement of the death of the young Cameroonian player, the President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Mr. Issa Hayatou, reacted as follows, and I quote:

  “Let me first pay homage to the family and friends of this young man whose only wish was to peacefully live his passion for football which had become his profession and which led him to emigrate out of his country. African football cannot be the breeding ground for some phenomenon of hooliganism whatsoever. We expect that exemplary sanctions would be taken accordingly as violence has no place in African football in particular and sports in general. We would do all what is within our reach to eradicate all forms of violence and unsportsmanlike conduct in stadiums across the continent. "

Beyond the football pitch, the death of the Cameroonian attacker of JS Kabylie stirred bewilderment and dismay among the Algerian population. Algerian citizens interviewed on this sad event have been speechless with regard to this tragedy on a football pitch.

Since the tragic death of Albert EBOSSÈ, Algerians have been rushing to the Cameroonian Embassy in Alger in their hundreds, in order to express their compassion to the family of the deceased player and to the whole Cameroonian people. This is a sufficient testimony of the fact that Cameroon is a country loved and respected in Algeria.

On Radio France International (RFI), a huge number of listeners, from all over the world, expressed their deep sorrow in the interactive programme « Appels sur l’actualité » of Tuesday, August 26, 2014, and unanimously condemned this barbaric act which led to the death of Albert EBOSSÈ.

On the initiative of the Algerian public, a facebook page was created last Sunday, that is to say just 24 hours after the dramatic event. A few hours later, this page had over thirty thousand (30,000 members).

On Monday August 25 2014, a public demonstration was organized at Tizi-Ouzou, in the memory of our compatriot Albert EBOSSÈ. Several thousands of Algerians, Africans and sympathisers from various countries took part in this demonstration.

In a declaration made public through the media, the Cameroon Ambassador to Algeria, His Excellency Claude Joseph MBAFOU, said that he was, and I quote, « moved by the messages of condolence and sympathy from all over », end of quote. He commended the active solidarity of Algerian citizens, who are sympathetic with the whole Cameroon.

The Ambassador also commended, and I quote once again, « the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria », which assured him of the sympathy of the Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Ramtane LAMARA, but also of the will of Algerian authorities to investigate and punish the authors of this crime.

To conclude, the Ambassador of Cameroon to Algeria invited the Cameroonian community to show proof of maturity and indulgence, in order to, he indicated and I quote, “to shame the killers and honour Albert’s memory”, end of quote.

Here in Cameroon, the President of the Cameroonian Football Federation (FECAFOOT) Normalisation Committee, Professor Joseph OWONA, published on Monday, August 25, 2014, a declaration in which he called on his counterpart, the President of the Algerian Football Federation, to open an investigation, in order to find out the author of the projectile that killed our compatriot of JS Kabylie, last Saturday.

He required, and I quote him, “that the author or authors of this heinous and cowardly act should be severely punished”, end of quote; and gave all the assurances that FECAFOOT remains available to collaborate at any stage of the process.

The President of the FECAFOOT Normalisation Committee added, and I quote him again, that “The Cameroonian football family and the whole nation are mourning the lost of such a young talented player, gruesomely killed when he was living his dream of playing football, a game of peace, respect and fair-play”, end of quote. He expressed his most sincere condolences to the family of the deceased player.

On his part, the National Trade Union of Cameroonian Footballers (SYNAFOC), expressed its indignation and vehemently condemned, and I quote, “this despicable act which claimed the life of one of its members, on a football pitch”.

SYNAFOC however invited all football players, especially those living in Algeria, to remain calm, and reaffirmed to them its unfailing support. He promised not to spare any energy, with the support of Algerian authorities, so that the authors of this gruesome act be brought to light and referred to court.

While waiting for the results of the investigation prescribed by the Algerian Minister of Interior, the Algerian Professional Football League has already ordered as a provisional measure, the closing of the Tizi-Ouzou stadium, until the conclusions of the various investigations ordered by Algerian authorities are known, and convened an emergency meeting of its board of directors, during which the managers of JS Kabylie and officials of the match were heard by the Disciplinary Committee.

Moreover, all championship matches of the professional and amateur leagues in all disciplines, scheduled to be played in Algeria have been suspended and postponed to a later date, as a homage to our compatriot who tragically passed away.

As soon as this terrible event occurred, a crisis unit was set up at the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The unit is presided over by the Director of the Movement of Foreigners. It works in collaboration with the Director of Public Security, focal point of the management of this case at the Algerian Ministry of Interior and Local Councils.

As far as the investigation ordered by Algerian authorities is concerned, the office of the State Prosecutor of Tizi-Ouzou announced that the Judicial Police had received instructions to use all the legal means that are necessary, such as audiovisual recordings, in order to identify the guilty and refer them to court.

It has also been ordered that within the framework of the same inquiry, an investigation be made on the circumstances that gave the respondent the occasion to get stones or any other projectiles, and throw them at players.

To the family of the deceased, according to an official press release of the Professional Football League, the Algerian Football Federation, the Algerian Professional Football League and JS Kabylie made a joint decision to provide the family of the deceased with an indemnity of ten million dinars, equivalent to 100, 000 US dollars or about 50 million CFA Francs.

Moreover, the management of the Jeunesse Sportive de Kabylie has decided that all the wages of the deceased player will be paid in full to his family until the end of his contract with JSK.

At the time being, Algerian authorities have already handed to Cameroon’s Embassy to Algeria the whole of the documentation required for the repatriation to Cameroon of the remains of our compatriot, Albert Dominique EBOSSÈ BOJONGO, and on August 24 2014, Cameroon’s Ambassador to Algeria signed the authorisation to transfer the corpse to Cameroon.

The Cameroonian Minister of Sports and Physical Education, here present, has indicated that an Algerian delegation led by the Algerian Ambassador to Cameroon, His Excellency Toufik MILAT, will accompany the remains of our compatriot, Albert EBOSSÈ, to Cameroon. The said delegation will include two officials of Jeunesse Sportive de Kabylie and teamates of the deceased.

The arrival of the corpse is scheduled for Friday, 29 August 2014 at 4:30 PM at the Douala International Airport.

Fellow Journalists,

Distinguished Guests,

Our country has just lost through Albert Dominique EBOSSÈ BOJONGO, one of his most valuable sons, who went abroad in search of glory and promotion of Cameroon worldwide.

It was a fact of the destiny that he dies on the battlefield, though he had tried. He had just scored in a circumstance that showed his individual merit, given that at this last moment of his sporting adventure, he was the scorer of the unique goal of his team.

Therefore, there is no doubt that Albert EBOSSE is among this specie of our compatriots whom the whole nation should be proud of. Full of will and audacity at a tender age, as it should be noted that he was only 15 of age when he signed his first football licence, this valuable son of our country that we are mourning today, showed courage and determination throughout his career, though so short lived, but sufficiently rich. This is especially true if we go by the many high level trainings that he underwent, and also his brilliant performances on the pitch.

It is precisely this “fighting spirit”, materialized here by Albert EBOSSÈ’s desire to win, that the Head of State, His Excellency Paul BIYA, has always invited, not only young Cameroonian sports persons, but the whole Cameroonian youth, and by extension, the whole Cameroonian people.

In this regard, Albert EBOSSÈ’s memory should be honoured with a special cachet. The reason is that despite the harsh nature of the competition that characterizes the way to the apex of glory, Albert EBOSSÈ had already found a safe way towards becoming a valuable member of the national and international football elite.

On behalf of the President of the Republic, His Excellency Paul BIYA, I hereby extend to the BOJONGO family the most sincere condolences and express to them the assurance of his compassion and support in this sorrowful circumstance.

We seize this occasion to renew to the Algerian Government, the entire confidence of the Government and of the Cameroonian people in its determination to successfully complete the ongoing investigations, in order to establish the responsibilities in this sad event that claimed the life of our compatriot, and to punish the guilty in an exemplary manner.

I also call on all our compatriots within or beyond our national borders, to keep the fair-play and tolerance spirit that has always been characteristic of the Cameroonian people, through its core values of peace, unity and solidarity.

I now call on the whole Cameroonian Olympic Movement, to come out massively and give a warm welcome back home to the remains of our valuable compatriot, Albert Dominique EBOSSÈ BOJONGO, on Friday, August 29 2014 at 4:30 PM at the Douala International Airport, until the organization of his funerals, in order to pay him a resounding homage, worthy of what he has been through his entire lifetime : a worthy son of our nation, who went out to the battle of life at a tender age, and who fell on the battlefield, with merit, in order to hold higher and higher the flag of our beloved motherland, Cameroon.

Thank you for your kind attention.”

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