Saturday, February 1, 2020

Police repression: The leader of the teachers' collective speaks Equinox TV on what really happened

On Equinoxe Télévision, the leader of the collective of indignant teachers in Cameroon related police brutality during the tribute to young Njomi Tchakounte.

What happened on January 30, 2020, after the brewing of Boris Kevin Njomi Tchakounte, a young math teacher killed on January 14 by his student at the bilingual high school in Nkolbisson? 

Several thousand teachers (8000 according to the organizers), gathered under the banner of the collective of indignant teachers from Cameroon, went to the morgue of the CHU of Yaoundé, to pay a well-deserved tribute to their late colleague. 

What must have been a moment of contemplation, quickly turned into a scene of demonstration of police violence. The teachers were instructed by the police and gendarmes using water cannons and tear gas. 

The leader of the collective, Jacques Bessala, arrested during the events and released later, returned to the appalling scene during the program "Equinoxe soir" on January 31 on Equinoxe Television. 

“It all starts around 8 am. There was an impressive body of law enforcement. People have told us, "You will not have access to this body." There was an outcry and we told them that it cannot happen that way, ”he said.

The spirits became heated, causing the descent on the premises of the governor of the Center, Paul Naseri Béa. After a discussion with the teachers, the governor authorized the exit of the hearse from the morgue with a procession. 

"It was the police, perhaps acting under orders, who helped to exacerbate the situation. All we asked for was to let us go through the funeral procession to Messa via the ENS (Ecole Normale Supérieure). We did not want to enter the ENS, it was just the route because we thought that the ENS which (Njomi Tchakounte) had trained it, could see it pass. Our place of fall was the Ministry of Secondary Education. We wanted to say hello to our mom (Minister Nalova Lyonga who refused an academic tribute to the deceased) ”, says the teacher. 

The procession therefore started normally until the EMIA crossroads. "When we arrive at the Carrefour EMIA, there is a police car which blocks the access which leads to the ENS... There, I feel the ladle and I say to the colonel of the gendarmerie who was there, '' if you already want to charge the colleagues, it would be better for you to allow me to go and ask them to disperse. The route we have already taken is sufficient. '' He replied: "Bessala, our contract ends here, I have nothing more to discuss with you, we are moving up a gear." No sooner had I turned my back than the assault was launched, ”says the union leader. 

Several teachers will be injured and others arrested before being released. 

Jacques Bessala revealed that he had a working session with the Secretary General of the Prime Minister's office. Séraphin Magloire Fouda would have apologized to the government and promised measures aimed at improving the working conditions of the teaching staff.