Cameroon opposition leader in 'secret' detention

Tuesday January 29 2019

Prof Maurice Kamto of the Cameroon Renaissance

Prof Maurice Kamto of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM) appears before the Constitutional Council in Yaoundé on October 17, 2018. Prof Kamto had declared himself the winner of the October 7 presidential election. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

NDI EUGENE NDI
By NDI EUGENE NDI
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The whereabouts of Cameroon opposition leader Maurice Kamto remained unknown Tuesday, following his arrest on Monday night in the economic capital, Douala.

The Cameroon Renaissance Movement's (MRC) third vice-president, Mr Emmanuel Simh, said Prof Kamto was taken to an unknown destination.

Mr Simh also said that prior to Prof Kamto's arrest, the MRC treasurer, Prof Alain Fogue Tedom, was also arrested and placed in custody at the Yaoundé Judicial Police for reasons of "insurrection and property destruction". 

The government has not reacted while local media outlets were giving conflicting reports.

Whereas some claimed the MRC boss was being held at the judicial police in Douala, others were reporting that he was ferried to Yaoundé immediately after his arrest.

Party members

MRC, in a press release on Tuesday, called on its members and sympathisers to remain calm and attentive to instructions the party national directorate would give.

Prof Kamto maintains he won the country’s presidential election last October.

The MRC secretary-general secretary, Mr Christopher Ndong, said the opposition leader was arrested alongside several other party members.

“Police officers came shooting in the air, dispersed militants and arrested Prof Kamto at Albert Dzongang’s [a supporter of the opposition leader] residence in Douala,” Mr Ndong said, adding that the latter too was arrested.

Mr Celestine Djamen, who was wounded during the MRC-organised protest march on Saturday, was pulled from his hospital bed during the raid and ferried to the judicial police in Douala, according to Mr Ndong.

Popular musician

Prof Kamto has continuously insisted that he won the presidential poll, whose official result show he emerged a distant second with 14.23 percent vote. His supporters have been organising sporadic protests against what they term “an electoral hold-up” in defiance of a government warning against post-electoral disorder.

At least 117 people, including Prof Kamto’s former campaign manager, Mr Paul Eric Kingue, and popular musician Gaston Serval Abe (known by his artistic name as Valsero), were arrested during protest marches in several towns including Yaoundé and Bafoussam at the weekend.

Saturday’s nationwide “white marches” by the opposition party were unauthorised according to Communication minister, Rene Emmanuel Sadi. He said those arrested were “caught disrupting public order and perpetrating various assaults”.

However, according to Mr Simh, the aim of the “unjustified political arrests, was to decapitate” the political party and “its winning coalition” around its leader, Prof Kamto.

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