Hundreds arrested for not wearing masks
Published: 03:43 PM, 15 May 2020
Police in Cameroon have detained hundreds of people for not wearing masks, as COVID-19 cases in the central African state continue to rise.
17-year-old David Ngwa Fru, a resident of Cameroon, said he and his two younger sisters were detained by a team of police and gendarmes in the capital Yaounde on Thursday morning.
Fru said police detained them from a taxi on their way to the market because they were not wearing masks. After being detained at the police station for three hours, they were released after paying a fine of Tk 2,000 each. Many people who have not paid are still detained.
He said that although they were not issued any receipts, the police told them that the $9 he and his siblings paid were fines for not wearing their masks, and assured them that the money would be sent to the state treasury.
Police officer Oswald Ateba said police are implementing a Cameroon government order that everyone in public must wear a face mask as of 6 a.m. Thursday.
He said they have been instructed to arrest everyone found along the streets, markets, bars and popular spots without masks and to impound all vehicles and motorcycles that are seen with drivers and passengers not wearing masks.
The police said authorities have detained hundreds of people, seized 250 motorcycles and impounded hundreds of taxis in Yaounde alone as part of efforts to implement the new rules.
Government spokesperson Rene Emmanuel Sadi said the decision to make arrests came after lockdown restrictions were eased, but a majority of Cameroonians were not wearing masks.