By Boris Esono Nwenfor
“…If an individual is caught assaulting a Police Officer, they shall face the heavy arm of the Law. There is no point trying to escape after such an act because a hungry snake shall come for you in your hideout.”
The Minister of Territorial Administration, Paul Atanga Nji made the above statement in a communiqué published this Friday, September 10 after frequent assault on a police officer and other security forces by ordinary citizens has been observed for the last weeks.
Images and videos from Douala, Yaoundé have seen local inhabitants assaulting these security officers while in one video, a lieutenant Colonel is said to have been assaulted in a bus. In another video, a private car driver drove over a police officer while another was fighting with a police officer in Douala.
This irresponsible behaviour towards the Police is unacceptable. It should be underscored that the Police is at the service of the population, and more specifically at the service of everyone.
According to the Minister of Territorial Administration, Cameroonian Police is a well-structured and well-organized corps, present at all levels of the Republic: Regions, Divisions and Subdivisions and they work relentlessly to ensure the security of persons and their property.
“In the event of any disagreement between a police officer and an individual, a complaint should be addressed to the Police hierarchy. When the accusations against a police officer are founded, only the Police hierarchy is empowered to apply sanctions against the defaulting officer, per the internal regulations of the corps and in line with the Laws in force,” Minister Atanga Nji said.
“…no citizen or person, regardless of their social status, for whatsoever reason, has the right to assault a police officer on duty. That could be considered jungle justice which we all know has no place in Cameroon. Insulting or assaulting a police officer on duty or refusing to obey instructions is unacceptable.”
“It should be made abundantly clear that from the foregone if an individual is caught assaulting a Police Officer, they shall face the heavy arm of the Law. There is no point trying to escape after such an act because a hungry snake shall come for you in your hideout,” Minister Atanga Nji added.
Such disrespectful and derogatory behaviours towards security officers shall be sanctioned accordingly as stated by Minister Atanga Njie, as provided for by the law.
He said: “In this regard, I would like to restate here the provisions of Section 156 of Law No. 2016/007 of 12 July 2016 relating to the Penal Code, amended and supplemented by Law No. 2019/020 of 24 December 2019, for everyone to get abreast with.”
Section 156: Assault on Public Servant (1) Whoever uses force on a public servant or otherwise interferes with him, shall be punished with imprisonment for from 1 (one) month to 3 (three) years and with a fine of from CFAF 5 000 (five thousand) to CFAF 100 000 (one hundred thousand).
(2) Where the force or interference is premeditated, or where it results, intentionally or otherwise, in harm within the meaning of Sections 277 or 280 of this Code, the punishment shall be imprisonment for from five (05) to ten (10) years and fine of from CFAF20 000 (twenty thousand) to CFAF 500 000 (five hundred thousand).
(4) Where the force or interference results unintentionally in death, the punishment shall be imprisonment for life: (5) where the force or interference is intended to cause death, the punishment shall be death.
The Minister further added that Regional Governors have now been given strict instructions on how to handle irresponsible persons who attack Police officers on duty. Whether this goes a long way to deter local inhabitants from assaulting a police officer or other security forces, is left to be debated upon.