In response to the escalating insecurity in the Oyack neighbourhood, the first Deputy Divisional Officer of Douala III, Ekouma Ekouma Joseph Arcel, officially introduced a group of vigilante members into the community. This significant step was taken on Tuesday, October 31, 2023, to address the rising rates of criminal activities within the Oyack 1, 2, 3, and 4 sections of the neighbourhood.
Over recent months, the Oyack community has been plagued by a concerning surge in criminal incidents, particularly theft and assaults. Jason Angel, a local resident, described the dire situation, stating, “We had theft cases every day. We had cases of assault, especially assault. It became exaggerated in this neighbourhood.”
Another resident, Brondy Brandon of Oyack 2, echoed the sentiment, emphasising the numerous security challenges faced by the neighborhood’s inhabitants.
In response to the growing concerns, local authorities made the decision to enlist physically capable individuals who could protect the community against theft and thuggish attacks. “The vigilante members had been operating since June, following the Wouri Senior Divisional Officer. This time around, the Divisional Officer came to install them in the presence of the population so that they can continue operating officially,” explained Alphonse Ongolo, the quarterhead of Oyack 2.
The local population, during the installation ceremony, praised the positive impact the vigilante members had made since they began operating in June. They credited this presence with a reduction in the neighborhood’s overall insecurity. “The security at the moment is better than at any other time,” affirmed Jason Angel.
Following the installation, the Divisional Officer urged the vigilante members to carry out their duties responsibly and with credibility to earn the respect of the population.
The vigilante members, in turn, pledged their commitment to ensuring the safety of the community and urged the government to provide them with the necessary resources to carry out their responsibilities effectively. They also extended an invitation to the security forces, urging collaboration to expedite their efforts. “We need the gendarmerie and the policemen to work with us,” emphasised one of the members.