POLICE, WETI I DO YOU?
Earlier today (Sunday, 3rd Jan. 2021) I was on my way to Douala. Stepping out of the quarter in Molyko I ran into these four. They were putting on Police uniforms and walking lacadesically in my direction. Mindful that the Police are supposed to protect civilians I kept walking. They stopped me and asked for identification. I showed them my ID and answered all their questions politely. Then they asked to see what’s inside my bag. I showed them and when they saw my laptop one of them grabbed it and said it’s a laptop and I’ll have to come to the station to get it, then they started walking away. I didn’t even see where the plastic bag came from, but he already had my laptop inside. That was fast, I give him that.
When they noticed I wasn’t quick to follow them they stopped and asked for the receipt. I thought to myself “since when do I have to walk around with the receipt for and old laptop like this one?” When I told them I don’t have it, they said I have to settle control. I did the math and recognized that it was a setup “It’s Sunday morning. Even if I get to the station they’ll say they’re not working. That means I’ll have to wait till Tuesday, assuming the laptop successfully makes it to the station”
I didn’t understand how to settle control for an old laptop I’ve been using for as long as I could remember. I used to think only commercial inter-urban drivers settle control. It kinda pissed them off that I didn’t speak their language. They held me hostage for close to two hours and the ring leader kept insisting on having me speak French. Then one of them cornered me and told me I have to give them money. I couldn’t just give them my transport like that. What if……
I told them I have MoMo and one of them said they only have Orange money. Na new trouble that because Orange money account don empty as I use am buy data, all money be dey na for MoMo. I said okay let me do MTN to Orange and they told me it’s not possible. After walking around for hours a kiosk in one corner. I tried to cash out, but the dealer had no change. So I told him to withdraw from my MTN and cash in to my Orange. He did and I walked back to meet the gang of four who were impatiently waiting outside (harassing young girls in the name of control). I initiated the transaction and asked for the Orange number so I could pay for my own laptop. One of them was about to provide a number when the ring leader stopped him and said “ne donnes jamais le numero.” I was too focused on getting my laptop that I didn’t pay attention to why he stopped him (it kinda pissed me off, though I kept my cool). That’s when I noticed that they walk around with black plastic bags. I assume those are meant to serve as take-away (at least that’s what they used for my laptop).
There was a man who had been standing on the side of the road observing, trying to get his sister off the hands of these people who are really supposed to be protecting her. I walked to him and asked if he could give me cash in exchange for MoMo. He’d been observing, so he understood. I paid them, collected my laptop and walked away.
These are the four vendors who seized my laptop and made me re-buy it from them. The one with the black plastic is the ring leader and it’s my laptop that’s inside the black plastic he’s holding. He’s the one who kept forcing me to speak French. God alone knows what would have happened to my phone if they saw me take this photo, but at this point I really didn’t care.
Narrated by Isidore Delpierro on Facebook