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Operation Djakpata divides Opinion in Benin

[All links are to French sources.]

Operation Djakpata, launched in April 2013 by the Benin Ministry of the Interior, Public Security and Religion, intends to track all criminals engaged in illegal activities which could disturb the Benin people. However, for the past few days, public opinion of this project has been extremely divided.

Safety in Benin by Felix Krohn on Flickr CC-BY-NC

Safety in Benin by Felix Krohn on Flickr CC-BY-NC

On his blog, Illassa Benoit quoted Charles Toko, a business owner from Benin:

Opération Djakpata. [Djakpata serait] un serpent qui avale des gens. Un Boa ? Hum…très peu au Sud Bénin, sinon inexistant. Un Anaconda ? Ça n’existe pas en Afrique. Une vipère ? Ça n’avale pas un homme. Or, à en croire certaines langues au sud du Bénin, Djakpata est un serpent qui avale des hommes. Ce qui est faux. Donc l’opération en elle-même est fausse au départ. Les développements le confirment.
Au départ, une manipulation. On a sorti des engins qui ne sont pas destinés au Bénin. Au fait, ce sont des engins que le Bénin loue à l’ONU. Mais depuis 2006, le mensonge est considéré par le gouvernement comme une communication par excellence. Alors, on s’y adonne. On nous montre des mini chars, des 4X4 de patrouille, des canons, …. Comme d’habitude, c’est pour mentir.

Operation Djakpata. [Djakpata could be] a snake who swallows people. A Boa? Hmm…very rare in South Benin, possibly non-existent. An Anaconda? It doesn’t live in Africa. A Viper? That can’t swallow a human. Nevertheless, if you believe some people from South Benin, Djakpata is a man-swallowing snake. This is not true. Therefore the operation itself is flawed from the start. Developments confirm it.
From the start, manipulation. Devices have been used which are not destined for Benin. In fact, these are devices that Benin lent to the UN. However, since 2006, the government has believed that lying is an excellent form of communication. So, they stick to it. They show us mini tanks, 4×4 patrol vehicles, cannons… As usual, in the name of lying.

Summary of Events

President Boni Yayi’s government recently launched an operation named ‘djakpata’. On website Adjinakou, Gathum Gbaguidi summed up the context of this security operation:

” Djakpata 2013 ” c'est le nom de l'opération lancée lundi dernier par le ministre de l'intérieur, de la sécurité publique et des cultes, Benoît Dègla, sur l'esplanade du stade de l'Amitié de Cotonou. Djakpata, qui est le nom donné à la vipère en langue fon, a été attribué à l'opération qui vise à aller à l'assaut des malfrats de tout acabit dont les jours sont désormais comptés, à moins qu'ils changent de métier. Cette opération conjointe de toutes les forces de sécurité et de défense a mobilisé des milliers d'agents des forces de sécurité et de défense, des véhicules légers de patrouille, des véhicules spécifiques de maintien d'ordre et des blindés légers. Ainsi donc, pendant trois mois, cette grosse artillerie va mener une lutte sans merci contre l'insécurité sous toutes ses formes dans toutes les localités du pays en commençant par Cotonou et ses environs.

“Djakpata 2013” is the name of the operation launched last Monday by the Minister of the Interior, Public Security and Religion, Benoit Degla, on the stands of Cotonou’s Friendship Stadium. Djakpata, which is the word for viper in the Fon language, was the name given the operation which aims to go after all kinds of crooks whose days are already numbered, so at the very least they change the way they make a living. This operation undertaken by security and defence forces together has mobilised thousands of agents from the security and defence forces, patrol cars, cars for maintaining order and armoured cars. So, for three months, this heavy artillery is going to lead a merciless fight against a lack of safety in all forms and localities in the country starting with Cotonou and surrounding area.

On his blog, François Django covered the objectives of the operation:

Sur une patrouille mixte des forces de l'ordres,toute l'armée béninoise se donne la main pour lutter contre l'incivisme et l'insécurité au Bénin. Désormais la nuit appartient à l'armée béninoise. Ne circule plus qui veut mais qui possède des preuves évidentes pour se défendre.

Un processus salué par la population béninoise, car vivre dans la sécurité viens la décharger des gouffres de la misère.

Le souhait est que cette opération dure dans le temps et s'élargisse à toute les autres villes. Et que la paix soit toujours l'ami du Bénin, exemple de démocratie dans la sous région et dans le monde entier.

The entire Benin army is helping to fight anti-social conduct and lack of safety in Benin by a patrol consisting of various law and order forces. From now on the night belongs to the Benin army. No-one who wants can go out any more, only those who have the right evidence to defend themselves.The process has been welcomed by the people of Benin, because living in safety relieves the depths of poverty.

The hope is that this operation will endure and spread to all the other towns. And that peace will always be the friend of Benin, example of democracy in the sub-region and worldwide.

Here is a video of the announcement of the operation by the ministry.

Benin: Benoit Degla launching Operation Djakpata by actubenin

On the social networks, the people of Benin are far from unanimously approving of this operation.

On Twitter, internet users joked:

@shimkmb: J'ai reve que les policiers de Djakpata m'embarquaient

 @shimkmb: I dreamt that the Djakpata police took me in with them

“@Arlus_BDS: @jessebonheur:  ne m'envoi plus jamais d'invitation de path , tu veux Djakpata chez toi ou quoi ?”

“@Arlus_BDS: @jessebonheur: don’t ever send me any more Path invitations, do you want Djakpata at your house or what?”

“@Jules_Roland: “Opération Djakpata” tourne au fiasco ! C'est triste mais c'est à mourir de rire… #Bénin

“@Jules_Roland : “Opération Djakpata” is becoming a fiasco! It’s sad but makes you die laughing…#Benin

@jcommejasmine: Plus rien ne va ds ce pays… Ca nous parle d'”Opération Djakpata”, mais ca se fait braquer aussi! On est ou la?

@jcommejasmine: Nothing works in ths country any more… They talk of “Operation Djakpata”, but that is collapsing too! What’s that about?

@LaTeam_229: Les USA ont Les Experts Manhattan, Les Experts Miami nous #AuBénin on a #DJAKPATA

@LaTeam_229: The US have the Manhattan Experts, the Miami Experts #AuBénin {in Benin] we have #DJAKPATA

@EAHOUNOU: Ou on est t-on avec l'Opération #DJAKPATA :Braquage hier vers #Missèbo à #Cotonou en plein jour… Qd la Police pense politique … #le229

“@EAHOUNOU: Where are we with Operation #DJAKPATA :Hold up in #Missèbo, #Cotonou in broad daylight… When the police think politics first … #le229

“@CDjidjoho: #AuBenin quand djakpata te vois la nuit il te frappe d'abord !!! Avant de te demander des explication

“@CDjidjoho: #AuBenin [in Benin] when djakpata sees you at night they strike you first!!! Before asking you for explanations

Despite the important awareness campaign around Operation Djakpata, the overall efficiency of the program seems to have brought about mixed results so far.


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