Strong security measures at the headquarters of a Cameroon-based human rights organization were no match for burglars who broke through the roof on the night of Nov. 1-2 with the goal of disrupting operations.
It was the fifth time in a year that burglars — apparently politically motivated — had struck REDHAC, the Network of Human Rights Defenders in Central Africa.
As in previous incidents, the invaders vandalized the offices and destroyed or stole some REDHAC equipment, including a flat-screen television. But they also took files from the office of Maximilienne Ngo Mbe, REDHAC’s executive director, along with two DVDs and the site’s surveillance video. While in the offices, they searched through REDHAC’s file folders and cabinets.
The criminals’ goal did not appear to be purely financial, since they left behind flat-screen monitors and computer equipment.
REDHAC fights for human rights, including the rights of LGBTI people, in Cameroon, Chad, Gabon, Congo-Brazzaville, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, Sao Tome and Principe, and Equatorial Guinea.
REDHAC called on police to put an end to the burglaries.
In a statement, REDHAC said that burglars climbed onto the roof in the pouring rain and tore through roofing materials and a ceiling panel in order to reach the offices below. There they broke all the doors, damaged cabinets and searched all offices.
The offices’ doors and windows had been strengthened after previous burglaries.
After REDHAC filed a complaint at Douala’s central police station, a police investigation was begun, the group said.