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                                                             Across the Kom Country

A long time ago, when the Kom people first arrived at what is the present Kom kingdom, Kom was limited to the hills of Laikom. The indigenous Kom people were tired and exhausted from the great trek that they had undertaken. It had been three years since they had left the Babesi country, so when the python trail that had been leading the people finally disappeared on the hills of Laikom, it was a signal to the Kom people that they had reached the promised land. The woman leading the migration of the Kom people was called Nini Naboh, she whispered to her Kom children, “My children! We have reached our final destination. It’s here that we will build a new kingdom for ourselves and for the children who will be born.” Immediately, the people began building a new kingdom. When the people had completed the building project, Naboh decided to name the new country, “Laikom.” The word Laikom in the Kom language simply 

means, “The Kom Country,” or “The Kom Kingdom.” Nini Naboh was a sister of the Kom king who had disappeared in the forest in the Babesi country. Before his death, the king had instructed his sister, Naboh, to lead the Kom people out of the Babesi country because of the atrocities that were being committed against his young men. To avenge the brutal killings of his young men by the people of Babesi, the late king of Kom decided that he would commit suicide to fulfill his people’s wish for his impeachment. Before he died, the king had warned his people about events that would occur shortly after he disappeared into the forest. In the area where his body was hanged, a mysterious lake formed that eventually swallowed the Kom enemies. He also told his sister about a mysterious python trail that would emerge from the mysterious lake to direct the course of their migration out of Babesi. Nini Nabo obeyed her brother’s instructions and waited until the python trail had emerged from the lake. She was a dynamic and hardworking woman, with great leadership qualities. These qualities of Nini Nabo showed during the great trek. The journey of the people wasn’t a smooth one. The people went through different tribes, clans, and 

kingdoms on their way to the present Kom kingdom. Some of the places they went through were very hostile. Each time the python trail disappeared in the course of the journey; the people camped there with the hope that this was their final destination. But they continued their journey each time the python trail reappeared, indicating that the area wasn’t safe for them to settle permanently. After the people had completed their journey, they began building huts for their respective families. Then they were faced with the major challenge of finding farmlands on which to cultivate food crops to feed their families. The topography of Laikom was good for security because it was situated on the hilltops which made it possible for the Kom people to watch the valleys for any unwelcome visitors.

 But Laikom wasn’t good for farming due to its rocky nature, and the few areas of Laikom that had soil on the ground were not fertile enough for farming. The one good thing about Laikom was the constant flow of water from the rocky hills that provided good drinking water for the people. But the people desperately needed farming land to cultivate their food crops before their children died of hunger The valleys below the Laikom hills belonged to the neighboring Mujang clan. These valleys were very fertile grounds for farming. Food crops did very well in the area of Mujang, but the Kom people could do nothing in this area since it did not belong to them. The area adjacent to Laikom, located on the other side of the hills, belonged to a different clan called the Bueni. The Bueni people were the original inhabitants of Njinikom. The Bueni land was very fertile for farming. The Kom people referred to this neighboring clan as “Njinikom,” which in the Kom language means, “Across the Kom Country.” The people were in desperate need of farming land. Faced with this problem, the ruler of the Kom people summoned his elders to a meeting to discuss issues related to farmland and the expansion of the kingdom. 

During the meeting, the king told his council of elders to work out a plan so they would acquire farmlands from the neighboring clans either through peaceful means or through wars. At the end of the meeting, the elders agreed to create a plan and to stand by their king in any decision that he made for land acquisition. They all supported their king in his effort to expand the Kom land. The success of the plan would provide everybody in the kingdom with enough land to farm their food crops. Inter-tribal wars were very common among tribes, clans, and kingdoms in the grass fields region during the period of the great migration. Land disputes were always at the center of inter-tribal wars. Every tribe in the region wanted to have the most fertile land in the region. The Kom people were no exception.

The Kom people first tested their strength against the Bueni people. One morning, the people of Bueni realized that the Kom people had moved onto their farmlands and had started cultivating without permission. When the Bueni people saw the actions of the Kom people, they realized that trouble was coming, so they quickly packed their belongings and fled down to the valleys of the Jemchi region. As the Bueni people began moving away, the Kom people took advantage of their leaving and immediately occupied the land, which today is called Njinikom. When the Kom people saw that their plan to take control 

of the Bueni land was successful, they continued moving towards the Ngvinkejem area. This was originally inhabited by the people of Kejem. At the time the Kom people referred to it as “ngvinkejem” because of its fertile farmlands. The Kom people wanted these fertile farmlands of Kejem. The Kom people had the numbers to withstand any threat from the neighboring clans but they didn’t want to attack their neighbors directly and without a cause. They needed to justify the reason why an attack against their neighbors was 

being carried out. The Kom people decided that they would play a trick on their neighbors that would justify the reason for the attack. The Kom people invented a proverb that said, “Atuma lingula-take lie njoua,” meaning the Kom people have never slaughtered their enemies without a cause. Early one morning, the Kom people kidnaped a pregnant woman from the Kejem clan at a road junction in the village of Kitchu. At that time, this area of Kitchu belonged to the people of Kejem. The woman was on her way to her farm at the time she was kidnapped. As soon as the pregnant woman was abducted, she was taken to the Kom Palace at Laikom. The people who carried out the abduction slaughtered a goat at 

the road junction and sprinkled the blood around the area to give the impression that something terrible had happened there. When the Kejem people couldn’t find the pregnant woman, they assumed that the blood of the goat was that of the woman. The Kejem people immediately suspected that the Kom people were responsible for the missing woman. The people took this as a serious threat and prepared to attack 

the Kom people. As soon as the Kejem people attacked the Kom people, the Kom people released the woman and said to themselves, “Now we have a reason to attack you because you attacked us first.” The Kom people had tricked their neighbors into beginning a war they would never win. The Kom people overpowered them and they all fled and abandoned everything they had, including their homes. The Kom people immediately took control of the farmlands and today, the area of the Kom land called Belo is the land that was formerly owned by the Kejem people.


1. Why is the story titled Across the Kom Country?

2. Are there some lessons to be learned in the story?

3. What was the main reason for so many inter-tribal wars 

among kingdoms, clans, and tribes in African rural 

communities before the 17th century? 

4. Where did the Kom people come from?

5. How did the newly arrived Kom people expand the Kom 


By Ernest Timge



Karin Mubang



Richard Mbih

Vice President


Awa Kerstine



Fred Tawah

Financial Secretary

Dr Kini CHiabi
Dr Nelson Ngoh
Bobe Ngoh Nkwain

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