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Whereabouts of 100s Unknown After Cameroon Prison Riot

YAOUNDE VOA | Hundreds of people marched in Cameroon’s capital, demanding to know the whereabouts of imprisoned relatives who were moved to unknown locations last week after a riot inside a large Yaounde jail.

“We simply want the government to let us know where they are,” said Julius Berka, 32, who demonstrated Monday. “We do not have any bad intentions. It is our right to know where they are.”

The prisoners were moved after a riot in the Kondengui Central Prison on July 22. Detained separatists from Cameroon’s English-speaking regions and jailed opposition members took possession of the prison yard to denounce overcrowding, deplorable conditions and lengthy trial delays.

The prison, built for 750 inmates, was holding more than 6,000.

The government says that after the riot, about 250 prisoners were moved. Separatists on social media gave the government five days as of last Wednesday to disclose where the detainees were or face the consequences.

On Monday, they said they had been informed that 88 of the English-speaking inmates were in a cell in Yaounde. The location of the others was not disclosed.

Government spokesperson Rene Emmanuel Sadi says the inmates were taken out of the Kondengui prison because of the role they played in the riot, in which part of the facility was torched and many inmates injured.

“The inmates identified as being the leaders on this insurgency, 177 people on the day of the event and 67 thereafter for a total of 244 insurgents, have been handed over to the police and gendarmerie services for questioning,” Sadi said.

He added that some of the inmates were in more secured detention facilities in Yaounde while others were moved elsewhere to make the prison less congested.

Denis Nkemlemo, spokesperson for the main opposition political party, the Social Democratic Front, says by keeping the prisoners beyond the reach of family members and friends, the government is aggravating the crisis in the English-speaking regions.

Armed groups in the two regions have fought to separate them from majority French-speaking Cameroon since 2017.

Rights group Amnesty International has called on authorities to improve the grim prison conditions, release anyone detained only for peaceful protest, and ensure that every person held past the legal period of pretrial detention goes before a judge immediately or is released.

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  1. As communication is a two-way business, detainees could help by calling family and friends to announce their new locations. That is one way to puncture the evil designs of the authorities.

    Prison authorities are not all evil; let the good ones help distraught relatives in their quest.

  2. Some idiot on Press Hour last sunday, asked in arrogance, why inmates
    should have cell phones. He claimed he is a UB grad. Very disoppointing
    young man.

  3. Thanks to the brains and braun of Seseku Ayuk Tabe Julius, we have known that our people are exterminated in cold blood by the Etoudi gangster regime. Who kills prisoners extrajudicially if not a wicked devil itself from the genocidal pits of hell? We cannot live together with these genocidaire monsters! The apologies and cries of the master killer Laurent Esso will not stop what is coming. We will not yield until we reach Buea. 3 years ago no one could mention Ambazonia anywhere in that jungle without the fear of retaliation. Today it’s being sang right inside Kondengui and anywhere in the pigsty. All hail Ayuk Tabe Julius. The hunger strike continues until these monsters know we will not blink. I can’t stop to without praising the contender forces. Keep lighting the LRC terrorists.

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