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Cameroon: Security Forces Foil Protest March
Source: Cameroon Tribune
Source Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Country: Cameroon
Created: Oct 18, 2012

A planned weeklong protest against poor service provision by the mobile telephone company, Mtn Cameroon, folded up suddenly yesterday in Douala. A mixed patrol of police and gendarmes who came in pickups, security wagons and small service cars swopped the demonstrators who marched to the premises of the Mtn head office in Akwa at about 10 a.m. yesterday. Before the four protesters who were arrested, including its leader, Boris Boniface Mbah, and a motorbike impounded on the spot were whisked to custody, other protesters fled the premises having been chased far into the neighbourhood by armed police and gendarme officers. One of the security forces said the protest was illegal because notifying the administration and not securing an authorisation was not enough to get to the streets to express their grievances. The protesters, who allegedly members of the Cameroon National Federation of Trade and Services Trade Unions (FESCOS-CAM) that initiated the protest, said they were protesting against what they call "aggravated abuses" and poor service provision. They are calling for improved services by Mtn Cameroon. In a communiqué signed by the trade union leader, Boris Boniface Mbah, reference is made to other grievances like a-FCFA 1,756,275,400 suit one Edison Fru Ndi, CEO of Société Dreamland Extra filed against Mtn Cameroon in 2010, the flagrant violation of the rights of consumers, the swindling of Mtn clients through missing airtime credits, and poor network services. It also imputes allegations of refusal by the mobile telephone company to grant audience for dialogue towards a satisfying service. However, a senior staff of Mtn Cameroon who denied being mentioned by name refutes the claims of the trade union and the protesters. He said Mtn is a leading company in mobile telephony in the country; having moved up from two to seven million clients within a decade is remarkable and proves of its service quality. On the Edison Fru Ndi's case which is still under adjudication, he said it would not be right to attempt to influence decision of the court through such a public manifestation. "We would not receive FESCOS-CAM, it is not a competent and relevant trade union to our sector and, besides, the protest is illegal," he noted.
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