Cameroon: Security Concerns Heighten in Douala

(file photo).

There is a resurgence of armed banditry, burglaries and waylaying reported in different quarters of the city.

It started like little drops of rains and now it is becoming like a downpour as the rate of burglaries, waylaying and armed banditry is on the rise in the city. Hardly does a day go by without reports of an assault or theft in all forms. Recently a man was assaulted at the gate into his residence and dispossessed of his money and other valuables in Cité Sic Kotto. The same day a reveler returning from a boozing spree with the girlfriend, were assaulted around the Bonamoussadi market very early in the morning. In Bonaberi, it was a young girl who was apparently drugged to unconsciousness that was dispossessed of her hand bag containing her phone and money. Bandits acted brazenly in broad day light around Mboppi, taking away millions from a finance institution.

This is addition to the normal snatch and run of ladies handbags with the use of a motorcycle, taking people in a taxi to the wrong destination and manhandling the person to surrender the phone, mobile money code, cash and other valuables; breaking into people's homes on rainy nights. A new form theft has developed where miscreants pass for distributors of free nose masks. A sleeping substance is put on the mask and the victim asked to try it. As soon as the person inhales the substance in the mask, he drops unconscious and is left at the mercy of the criminals. Even the brawl that led to the death of the gendarme officer at Finexs is said to be a usual gimmick to provoke the victim to a fight and in the process dispossess him of his money, phones or jewelry.

A top security officer who opted for anonymity admitted the problem of insecurity is on the rise in Douala. Some people attribute the rise in crime to the presidential clemency which they say freed some unrepentant prisoners as most of the people involved are ex-convicts. Others attribute it to the presence of a lot of foreigners in the city with criminal backgrounds. Recently, a man of Ivorian nationality was arrested with a whole arsenal of arms and munitions which people say he used to carry out operations and lend to other criminals, though he staunchly denied it. Not long ago, it was the case of a Malian who passed for a tailor in the day and a predator at night. The search for a missing child in the Nkongmondo neighbourhood led to the discovery of the corpse of not only the missing child but another in his keeping in hole under his bed.

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