Five Anglophone filmmakers are currently detained at the judicial police station in Bonanjo, Douala.
They were arrested on set on Thursday, February 11, 2021, on grounds that they were shooting a movie without informing state authorities.
A source familiar with the story said onlookers who mistook the filmmakers who armed separatist fighters called in the police.
“Someone called the police and said Amba boys were around their area planning an attack. Maybe the police informant saw the wooden guns being used to shoot the film and imagined that the filmmakers were separatist fighters,” a source familiar with the incident told Mimi Mefo Info.
“The guys shooting were using wood carved to look like guns. Simple wood and nothing attached to it. The police showed up, confirmed that it was a film set, and insisted that the filmmakers should follow them to the station since their boss sent them,” another source said on grounds of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
The two girls and three boys arrested on a movie set have been behind bars since Thursday. The police officers who conducted the arrest collected a FCFA 150,000 bribe from the filmmakers promising to free them. But in an unfortunate twist of events, the filmmakers were instead transferred to the judicial police station in Bonanjo.
With the advent of the crisis in the North West and South West Regions, the rights of Anglophones have been further curtailed.
It remains shocking that even to shoot a film in Douala is a crime for Anglophones.
At the time of this report, attempts to get to the producer of the film and the detained filmmakers were unfruitful.