Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Video of police brutality in Cameroon

With the winds of change blowing across the Middle East and North Africa, there have been speculations on whether this phenomenon would travel as far as Sub-Saharan Africa. The region has its share of repressive longstanding regimes which routinely use security forces to crackdown on political dissent. The ousting of Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Ben Ali of Tunisia has inspired many people living in fear and repression to demand change, and has put regimes with poor human rights records on high alert. One of such countries in Sub-Saharan Africa - where police brutality is no secret - is the Republic of Cameroon which has been governed by one man since 1982.

A recent video of police brutality in Cameroon posted on the internet on 21 February 2011 adds weight to this assertion. The video shows police officers in Cameroon's economic capital - Douala - brutalizing unarmed civilians in broad day light. Watch...

Scenes like the above are not uncommon in the African nation, and goes to show that the government is on high alert and ready to use brute force to stifle free speech and possible peaceful demonstrations

Last year, a video surfaced on the internet showing state agents subjecting university students to torture. A concerned onlooker captured the incident with a hidden camera. Watch...

In 2009, Amnesty International expressly criticized the 28-year old Cameroon government for violently repressing dissent, and noted with dismay that in January 2008, security forces killed 100 civilians with impunity during a protest against high cost of living.

Many Cameroonians live below the poverty line and have genuine concerns about the sorry-state of democracy and human rights. However, they have been silenced. The right to free expression and speech is limited. Anyone who dares to speak out is a target and potential victim of military or police crackdown.

The state should take concrete steps to put an end to brutality by security forces, sanction perpetrators in accordance with the law and restore the right to free speech, expression and peaceful assembly.

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