By Boris Esono Nwenfor
Cameroon’s security forces have used tear gas and water cannons to disperse teachers who were protesting the killing of one of their colleague by a student.
Teachers turned out en masse in the nation’s political capital Yaounde to pay their last respect to their colleague, Boris Tchakounte, stabbed to death by his student at Lycée Classique de Nkolbisson on January 14, 2020. The student report indicates is still under police custody.
As the teachers paid their last respect for their departed colleague, they were met with a harsh response from the forces of law and order that used tear gas to disperse the teachers.
According to reports, the security officers forcefully took the corpse away from the teachers and ordered it be taken the West Region, where it is to be buried. Images and videos of the incident quickly went viral on social media as security forces tried to contain the teachers who were bent on protesting and raising awareness of the plight they currently face.
A family source told journal du Cameroon that “authorities in place said the body cannot go to his former school. The funeral program indicated that the late teacher’s corpse was supposed to be taken to Lycée Nkolbisson, where he was stabbed, for academic honors, then to church, and finally to his family house.
Thousands of teachers, friends of the deceased, students all came out to bid farewell, chanting songs in honor of the late teacher. The population was, however, stopped at the EMIA round about by security forces that used tear gas and water to disperse the crowd.
The incident caused uproar on social media and on various media platforms that linked the heavy-handed nature of Cameroon’s security forces as the reason the North West and South West Regions are where they are now.
“Cameroon’s security forces will not seek to amaze me,” a Buea inhabitant told PAV. “We cannot even to out to carry out a peaceful protest without the security forces using tear gas on its citizen. We are where we are with the Anglophone crisis because of such actions, but they (security forces) do not seem to learn.”
The murder of the 26-year-old teacher shocked the entire nation and brings to the spot light insecurities faced by teachers at their place or work across the national triangle. Many have called for greater protection of teachers in school while others have called on government to give the teachers power to discipline students.
Cameroon’s Minister of Secondary Education Professor Nalova Lyonga said the teacher was wrong to have accepted to fight with the student, adding that the student should have been reported to the discipline master.
Recently, teachers in Cameroon has faced brutality not just from students, but military officers and from a Divisional officer.
On the 29 of September last year, a military officer, adjudant Boris Djouledem got a teacher in Government School Garage Militaire in Baffousam, West Region almost beaten to death for punishing a form five students who happens to be his son who failed to do his assignment.
Meantime, a Divisional officer recently brutalized a teacher of Government High School Ayos in front of students. The reason, the Divisional officer was momentarily blocked from entering a class in the school she was visiting as the students were taking examinations.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Secondary Education, teachers have been attacked at least fifteen times in the past month alone, as may ask what protection is there for the teachers to teach peacefully in classes.