Hundred arrested in security raid at Oldtown

Two soldiers stationed at a foot trail into Oldtown  from the Sonac street

Two soldiers stationed at a foot trail into Oldtown from the Sonac street

Saturday July 13, 2013 was a awful day for most residents of the Oldtown neighbourhood in Bamenda as a joint task force of the police, gendarme and army sealed off the neighbourhood rounding up suspects and searching homes.

The police remained tight lip as to the reasons behind the operation which resulted in the arrest of several people, mostly youths and the confiscation of electronic equipment like TV, DVD, smart phones, woofers and speakers.

Early in the morning truck load of soldiers, accompanied by elements of the police and gendarmes were dropped at various entrance into the neighbourhood, along the Sonac, Ayaba, Commercial Avenue, Water side and Old Town streets, completely cutting off all access into and out of the area.

 Residents were thoroughly searched by the army as they move out for work, while the police went in, to search some specific houses. Those leaving were asked to present their ID cards, or voter’s registration card. Failure to, they defaulters were asked to seat down while trucks passed by and collect them to drop at the Central Police Station and Judicial Police were they were held.

The raid was over by 8:30 am. Several family members rushed to the police to secure the release of their loved ones. Others were released free after intervention from various quarters while most were released after paying a bail of 5000 frs.

The Oldtown neighbourhood has been at the centre of several petit robberies, evening harassment, and the police believe it is a hide out to some notorious criminals despite its proximity to two police stations

Some city dwellers see the raid as a ploy to intimidate the population ahead of the upcoming twin elections in October.

“There would be more of such raids in other neighbourhoods in the coming days” a Ntamulung resident told a group of neighbours who watch as the drama unfold across the street a safe distance away on the Ntamulung side of Sonac street.

The press is still waiting for an official response from the administrative authorities of the region as police refuse to comment on the motives behind the raid.

 

By Abongwa Fozo

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