In the Nkolbisson neighbourhood of Yaounde, Cameroon, a violent mob caught and set a man on fire, whom they believed was attempting to steal a bag. The irate population also got him severely injured. Details surrounding the robbery incident remain unclear, but witnesses say the altercation unfolded around 10:00 p.m. on Thursday.
According to accounts gathered from local shopkeepers and onlookers, the victim, identified only as a man in his late 20s, allegedly attempted to snatch a bag from a passerby. The owner of the bag quickly thwarted the attempt by raising an alarm, drawing a crowd of onlookers. The enraged mob reportedly apprehended the suspect and subjected him to a violent assault before setting him alight. He died on the spot.
“This guy has been following his victim since, and I was watching closely until he found an opportunity, then snatched the lady’s bag. The lady then started shouting. That’s how people started following the thief until he was caught, beaten, and then set ablaze,” an eyewitness reported.
“The insecurity in Yaoundé is becoming alarming. Dead bodies were found everywhere; thieves were on every street. It’s just too much. Living here is becoming scary,” a resident reported.
Police officials have launched an investigation into the incident, with a focus on identifying and apprehending members of the mob involved in the assault, and have condemned the vigilante action, urging residents to cooperate with authorities and refrain from taking the law into their own hands.
“While we understand the frustrations of the community concerning rising crime rates, one of the reported reasons is that “resorting to violence is never the answer. We have a legal system in place to address such situations, and we urge the public to trust that justice will be served,” said the officer.
The incident has sparked heated debate across Nkolbisson, with many expressing outrage at the mob’s brutality, while others argue the act was a desperate response to perceived failures by law enforcement to curb petty crime. Community leaders have called for calm and unity, urging residents to collaborate with authorities to improve security in the area.
The rate of crimes in Yaoundé since the beginning of this year has been disturbing, and security forces in this region need to upgrade their strategy so as to reduce them.
Locals are calling on authorities to beef-up security around the country’s major cities as such incidents are frequent..