Francophone Cameroon: Civilians Brutalized during the September 22 protests

Francophone Cameroon: Civilians Brutalized during the September 22 protests

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The long awaited protest earlier announced by the Cameroon Renaissance Movement president Prof. Maurice Kamto saw massive turn out of people in major towns in the French section of the country. Towns like Douala, Baffousam witnessed a massive turn out of people. The match which began timidly slowly gained steam in many neighborhoods in Douala especially Ndokotti. The protest which was also joined by University students met resistance from the military who had been stationed in strategic positions in the cities.

Protesters carried placards which had messages calling on ceasefire in the two restive regions in the country, while others spoke of fixing the electoral code of the country, others had placards which spelled “Paul Biya Must go”. A concerned protester according to media report told the Bafang police that, “we are Cameroonians and we have our rights democracy is not achieved through war”. This was said while the police officers tried to disrupt their match. According to CRM president this protest is not to cause an uprising but rather to demand for an unconditional return to peace in the Northwest and Southwest regions by an immediate ceasefire accompanied by an inclusive dialogue and the reformation of the electoral code.

According to videos and pictures circulating on social media, some civilians sustained injuries while several others got brutalized and arrested. In one of the videos security forces are seen compelling those arrested to sing praises to the incumbent president. In an address the president of CRM expressed sympathy to those brutalized and arrested “To the victims of brutalities of the forces of repression, we express our deep compassion and our wish for a speedy recovery to the injured… for those who were illegally arrested during the marches or kidnapped for some the day before these marches at their houses… We express our total solidarity and our encouragement in this new ordeal on the way to the liberation of our country”.

About 500 people arrested

According to the lawyers of the Cameroon Renaissance movement party about 589 people have been arrested during the September 22 protests. In a tweet the head of the law firm based in the United States says according to data collected by the party 589 people were arrested, and states that several deaths had occurred with the injection of unknown substances to people coupled with torture and degrading treatment. The law firm had earlier warned against human right violations with regards to this protest and that if any violation recorded they shall drag the states to the international court. The number of death was not stated however CRM leaders like Alain Fogue, Bibou Nssack are amongst those arrested.

Journalists arrested in line of duty

 Amongst those arrested were journalists covering the protest in the streets of Douala.  Lindovi Ndjio, Polycarp Essomba .  Tah Jarvis and photographer Tebong Christian of My media prime, Rodrigue Ngassi of Equinox TV and Micheal Loumou of Radio Carrefour are some of the media personalities arrested.  The Equinox TV journalists after his release recalled the ill treatment he received from security forces and mentioned that his cloth was toned and was told he has lethal punishment for being a staff of Equinox TV. These treatments to journalist while performing their duties which is to inform and give news out to the people puts a question to the rate at which press is free in the country. With the creation of several different unions and especially the National Communication Council (NCC) the situation and status of media men and women have not still changed. The treatment of Journalists in Cameroon proves wrong Thomas Carlyle who called the press the “Fourth Estate”.

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