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Troops Brutalise, Bundle Littoral SDF Chairman/MP Into House Arrest 

By Joe Dinga Pefok

Hon Nintcheu and supporters

The Littoral Regional Chairman of the Social Democratic Front, SDF, Hon. Jean Michel Nintcheu, who is also an MP, was on October 21, brutalised and bundled into ‘house arrest’ in Douala by a large contingent of heavily armed Government troops.

His mobile telephone and those of some opposition party officials, who were with him, were confiscated.

Probably following a tipoff by a Government spy passing for an official of one of the opposition parties in Douala, the troops at about 3.00pm on that October 21, stormed a room in a building around ‘Douche Municipal’ at Akwa, Douala I.

Hon Nintcheu, who the security forces had been on the lookout for since that morning, was secretly holding a meeting with some SDF officials and officials of some other opposition political parties.

The troops reportedly ordered Hon Nintcheu to go with them, but he refused, insisting that they should present a warrant of arrest. The standoff lasted over 30 minutes, during which the leader of the squad was in frequent contact, presumably with hierarchy.

Following instructions, the troops ignored his Parliamentary immunity and pounced on Nintcheu. He tried to resist but was brutalised and forcefully carried back to his home in Douala III, where another set of armed policemen and gendarmes had been earlier deployed, thinking that he was at home. Security was reinforced around his compound after he was brought home and warned not to attempt to leave the house.

SDF and Others Insist On Defying Ban

The incident was related to the banned rally and public march that the SDF had scheduled on that Saturday, October 21 in Douala, to express solidarity with the people of the two Anglophone Regions (Northwest and Southwest Regions) by the DO of Douala I, Jean Marie Tchakui. Nintcheu vowed that the party would defy the controversial banning order and go ahead with the peaceful public march.

The Littoral SDF Chairman castigated the DO saying the party cannot continue to accept intrigues from the administration which, he said, operates like a wing of the ruling CPDM.

“The SDF will go ahead with the planned peaceful march… We are prepared to be killed like our Anglophone brothers that are being killed in the Northwest and Southwest Regions,” Nintcheu had declared.

Some of the parties and civil society groups chickened out when the event was banned. However, Edith Kahbang Walla (Kah Walla) of the CPP, Dieudonné Yebga of MANIDEM , Alexis Ndema of UPC Fidèle and the leader of PURS, declared that they would also defy the banning order and go ahead with the march. Kah Walla cried out that the CPDM has hijacked the country, and that the situation must not be condoned.

DO And Ngondo React

On the insistence by the SDF and a number of other opposition parties to march, the DO wowed that “all necessary measures” will be taken to ensure that there is no march.The highest traditional institution of the Sawa land, Ngondo.

At the end of the meeting which was chaired by the current President of Ngondo, HRH Gaston Mbodi Epee, the Sawa Chiefs issued a bilingual communiqué strongly condemning the attitude of those party leaders who were insisting on going ahead with the banned public march.

“Douala needs peace,” the Sawa Chiefs declared, claiming that the Anglophone Crisis is something that deeply concerns them. But the Chiefs warned some politicians in Douala who they say want to exploit the Anglophone Crisis for their selfish political interest.

Douala Heavily Militarised

The Douala population got up in the morning of Saturday, October 21, to see that many parts of the nation’s economic capital had been heavily militarised, with armed policemen and gendarmes stationed at road junctions, especially in Douala I where the SDF had planned to hold the rally and solidarity march.

Party Leaders Blocked At Home

Besides the banning order, party leaders were blocked at home for the whole of that October 21. The troops were only supposed to leave the homes after 6.00 pm, by which time it would no longer be possible for the party leaders and officials to carryout any march.

In the wee hours of that Saturday, troops were dispatched to surround the homes of Hon Nintcheu of the SDF, Kah Walla of the CPP, Dieudonné Yebga of MANIDEM, Alexis Ndema of UPC Fidele and the leader of PURS. The residences of some close collaborators to Nintcheu in the SDF like the Chairman of the Douala V Electoral District/Deputy Mayor of Douala V, Rodrigue Carlos Ngoualem, and the Deputy Mayor of the SDF-run Douala III Council, Achile Momo Azemba, were also surrounded.

Meanwhile, Nintcheu, who had last March experienced the security strategy of being blocked at home for the whole day, this time around, sneaked away from his home in the night of Friday, October 20. He reportedly left behind his vehicle to create the false impression that he was at home.

The other party leaders and officials were at home by the time the troops arrived, and were blocked from leaving their homes throughout the day. No other persons were also allowed to leave or enter any of the homes.

Desperate Attempt To March

With the heavy deployment of troops and with the party leaders and officials blocked at home and unable to march as they had vowed. In the late afternoon, a group of opposition youths gathered at Bepanda in Douala V, far away from the venue and attempted to march in a bid to fulfil their determination to march on that day.

But no sooner did the youths begin to gather than security forces were alerted probably by some of the several plain clothe security agents that flooded the town on that day. The anti-riot forces rushed to the scene and dispersed the youths using teargas.