More than a dozen Cameroonian lawyers have sustained injuries in Buea in the South West Region, where policemen confronted them as they were about to stage a peaceful march, November 10 2016.
In the wake of the standoff between Common Law Lawyers and security forces, an official of the US consulate in Douala visited some of the protesting lawyers, who handed him a sealed memorandum.
“We were moving peacefully around Bocom in Mile 17 in Buea when policemen swooped on us, torturing us severely. Numbers of other colleagues sustained injuries on their head and legs like myself.
A female lawyer is among those who have been injured. We must ensure that our demands are met,” Barrister Melle Didien, told this reporter in a determined tone, Thursday November 10.
Prior to the police brutality on Common Law Lawyers, the entire Fako Division (Buea, Limbe, Muyuka, Tiko) had witnessed an early morning troop deployment of gun-totting policemen and gendarmes apparently to prevent and planned protest by lawyers.
Torture in Different areas
Reports say, the lawyers who had traveled from different parts of the region to converge on Buea were brutally halted, pulled out of their cars and beaten.
“The lawyers who were driving from Limbe to Buea were halted and beaten around mile 16 and Mile 17. Others were searched in the Muyuka area, ”
concordant witnesses in these localities said. Other sources indicate that security forces raided offices.
“The forces went as far as invading Barrister Lifanje Cosmos' office around Obama Restaurant in Buea and got lawyers who were in well beaten. Barrister Tomson Tabi is in the hospital with pains on his ribs,” another lawyer recounted.
Other unconfirmed reports said security forces had in the early hours of Thursday November 10 prevented lawyers from leaving their hotel rooms in the Muea area, where they has spent their night in preparation for the day's protest.
Why Lawyers were beaten
Reports from Buea quote police sources as saying they were given firm instructions to beat up any lawyer who approached the court premises. “ Nous sommes la pour maintainir l’ordre. On va tabasser tout ceux qui sont tetus. L’ordre vient d’en haut,” ( we are here to maintain order. We are going to beat up any one whop is stubborn.
Orders are from above),” said a security source who brutally hangs up the phone on this reporter, without explaining the reasons for the brutality on men of law and seizure of their wigs.
American Diplomat Steps In
In the wake of the standoff between Common Law Lawyers and security forces an official of the US consulate in Douala visited some of the protesting lawyers.
“ He told the lawyers not to resort to any violence,” the US diplomat, Stuart Wilson is quoted as saying. The disgruntled layers are said to have handed him a sealed memorandum.
Amid troop deployment, the lawyers are said to have successfully stage their peaceful protest in Muyuka subdivision.
The protest organised by the Fako Lawyers Association, FAKLA is said to be a continuation of another protest by lawyers in Bamenda in the North West Region.
They lawyers are opposed to what they describe as the assimilation of common law by the French civil law system.
They are also opposed to the non respect of their call for dialogue.