Police Control Escalation Sparks Tensions in Benin

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The mandatory helmet checks initiated on March 1st have not unfolded without incident. The police force finds itself under scrutiny, accused by the public of “excessive force and brutality.” Several incidents, captured on video and disseminated across social media platforms, have forced the top brass to address the situation and take disciplinary action against implicated officers. However, criticisms persist.

The denunciations against the police have intensified, particularly in the past fifteen days, with three incidents that have deeply unsettled public opinion. The first occurred in Natitingou, where a video depicted a man being relentlessly beaten with batons and kicked while lying on the ground.

The second incident, also captured on camera, involved a policeman clinging to the open door of a bus, engaged in a struggle with the driver over control of the steering wheel. Inside the bus, panicked passengers screamed in distress.

Then, on Wednesday, on the outskirts of Cotonou, a mason lost his life in a confrontation during a routine check. According to witnesses, in response, locals set tires ablaze and blocked the Cotonou-Porto-Novo route.

Reports indicate that the police hierarchy has disciplined three officers in Cotonou, while those responsible for the violence in Natitingou are in temporary detention and set to stand trial on April 24th alongside the individual who filmed the incident.

Public sentiment disapproves of the detention of the videographer and continues to lambast the police force on social media platforms and radio broadcasts. A police hotline has been established to receive complaints.

This sequence of events underscores a growing tension between law enforcement and the citizenry, prompting calls for accountability and reform within the police force to ensure the protection and well-being of all citizens.


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