On July 20, 2021, in a video that went viral, Nourane Fostsing, member of the National Party for Reconciliation of Cameroon, appeared in a heated argument with police officers on duty in Bafoussam, in the West.
According to a police source, the MP tried to dismantle a police barrier erected because of the presence of Muslim faithful and the governor of the Western region at the place of prayer during the feast of Ramadan.
Outraged, Nourane Fotsing claimed to have been attacked by police officers. The case created a buzz. Far from being the only one of its kind, in recent days other altercations have been recorded on public roads, or in public transport vehicles.
A driver ran over a policeman during a routine check on August 12 in Yaoundé. A few days later, a driver and a policeman on duty engaged in a brawl in Douala, the economic capital. Last week, an Air Force military officer had a heated tussle on a transport bus with another passenger.
A succession of acts of violence which alerted the government. “These irresponsible and contemptuous behavior towards the police force has reached unacceptable limits and can no longer be tolerated “, to have you Paul Atanga Nji, Minister of Territorial Administration.
“No citizen or user regardless of their social rank has the right to exercise violence against a police officer in the performance of his duties”, he added.
In Yaoundé, however, many citizens point their finger at the police whose attitude towards ordinary users is not always characterized by conviviality.
“When a man in uniform is dealing with a civilian he has to be responsible, but in the majority of the footage I’ve watched over the past few days, it was the police who first punched the civilians,” regrets a sexagenarian in the Tsinga district in Yaoundé.
“Cameroonians are tired, angry even at the intimidation they are subjected to by the police. We all know that when the police officer is in front of you, it is the institution he embodies; but in fact neither the police officer nor the civilian does not have the right to infringe on the rights of the other “, supports Habiba, a private sector employee.
“Police officers should also limit themselves to their work, there are police officers who are really arrogant and the police officers should also respect themselves”, comments a student.
The subject worries even academics, such as Professor Paul Abouna, anthropologist and teacher at the University of Yaoundé, who fears an attack on respect for institutions.
“We simply have to consider this phenomenon as a kind of desacralization of the State. We risk leading to situations that are sometimes socially uncontrollable, but all those who engage in this type of practice expose themselves to sanctions that do exist “, he mentions.
Sanctions that the Minister of Territorial Administration wished to recall during a press conference in Yaoundé: “the prison sentence is 5 to 10 years and a fine of 20,000 to 500,000 CFA francs if the violence and assault is premeditated If the violence and assault unintentionally results in death, the penalty of imprisonment is for life, if the violence and assault results are committed with the intention of causing death, the culprit is punished with death “, a martelé Paul Atanga Nji.
The governors of the ten regions have been instructed to ensure compliance with this law. However, users can call the toll-free number 1500, to denounce the abuses of the police.