Vigilante justice

As we drove into Kumba on our return from Limbe, there was a dead body lying on the road covered up with a few banana leaves weighed down with rocks. Kara’s parents said the body was there when they left that morning, but it was naked and in the middle of the road. We shook our heads and tsk-tsk’d about the sadness (not to mention the smell) of leaving a body to lie out in the open like that for such a span of time, undealt with, and in such a climate.

When we reached the Lutheran compound and told the Cameroonian worker there about it, he said it was a thief who got caught and felt the wrath of a mob. Occupational hazard, he suggested with a shrug.

The next day, another Cameroonian said she had the goods on it from her daughter’s friend who was there when it happened. The man had fathered a child but the girl’s parents were incensed and wouldn’t allow him to see the child. They speculate he tried to see the girl and/or the baby and suffered for it. “He had a hole in his back,” she said, so he must have been knifed somehow.

Frankly the second story sounds a lot less believable, and has an awful lot of holes in it for an eyewitness account. Either way, I suppose, it’s a tale of vigilante justice, and I’d say it’s a tragic thing any way you look at it.


Tom said…
I agree it's sad, but if you think about it, all earthly justice is vigilante justice. Here in the 'developed world', we've got a lot of fancy ideas about how to mete it out, but ultimately we're just human beings deciding how to deal with other human beings. Sitting in special rooms with special titles and a long list of paper laws will never change that completely.

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