While authorities have chosen to go mute, youths who have been victims of police brutality and extortion in Buea and other parts of the North West and South West Regions are crying out for help.
Speaking to Mimi Mefo Info, a student of the University of Buea says he has been a victim of police extortion several times, and still can’t get justice.
“… The violence is increasing in Buea and we fear for the worst especially with the Gendarmerie. They arrest inhabitants for literally nothing and hit you for reading your rights to them,” he explains.
He said he was arrested and handcuffed “… because a gendarme officer saw a message in my phone seeking help from the WHO and answering their questionnaire. According to the Gendarme, it is a cybercrime”.
Three months ago, he says, he was accosted on the way to pay his rents at the Bwitingi neighborhood.
“They searched my stuff and saw the money and assumed I was a scammer or I was taking money to support separatists fighters,” he says.
In addition to these checks and extortion moves, students say night raids by the forces of law and order have made matters worse.
“You sleep in Molyko at 3AM and you hear they are raiding the building. When they see you, they search through your phone as though they have the right to. I have had my rights violated several times and I’m just crying out for help,” the student appealed.
Despite the numerous appeals, authorities have remained suspiciously quiet. Raids in student neighborhoods and numerous reports of violence have also gone unquestioned, highlighting the power accorded by the government to security forces.
It should be recalled that the same forces have been indicted for several human rights violations witnessing a rise in the past four years due to the ongoing battle against separatists in the North West and South West Regions.
Mimi Mefo Info