Jan 24, 2007

UNPO Appeal Follows Mass Arrest

UNPO has made extensive appeals following the mass arrest of activists at a press conference in Southern Cameroons. A demonstration is scheduled for 25 January 2007 in The Hague.

UNPO has made extensive appeals for the immediate and unconditional release of all those detained, and for the protection of their right to continue activities in peaceful pursuit of human rights for the people of Southern Cameroons.

A demonstration took place on Thursday 25 January 2007 at the Cameroonian Embassy in The Hague, The Netherlands.

[Further Details about the Protest]

UNPO has received disturbing reports that heavily armed police and gendarmes, a military unit, from La Republique du Cameroun have raided a press conference hosted by the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC) in Cow Street, Bamenda, Southern Cameroons on Saturday 20 January 2007.

The press conference was aimed at informing the public of SCNC Vice Chairman and UNPO Member Representative Nfor Ngala Nfor’s recent missions in Europe, the United States and Asia. An estimated 300 member of the Southern Cameroons community, along with journalists and human rights activists were attending the press conference.

Shortly after the opening of the press conference, the location was raided by armed officers of the Gendarmerie and Divisional Officers from the Mezam region. Witnesses report that the all individuals attending the press conference were detained for several hours by the officers whilst they attempted to identify and isolate members of the SCNC.

Reports also detail the use of excessive force, resulting in a large number of injuries to SCNC members, as well as unaffiliated civilians. Identified members of the SCNC Council were subsequently loaded into armed security vehicles and transported away.

Following their arrest by the Gendarmerie Legion at Up-Station in Bamenda, an initial group of detainees was transferred to the Bamenda Central Prison on 22 January. They are at  present awaiting trial for organising and attending an "illegal meeting".

[Reported by The PostNewsline.Com]

Amongst the arrested was SCNC Vice Chairperson Mr. Nfor,  who was severely beaten, and transported to an undisclosed location. Since returning to the Southern Cameroons Mr. Nfor has been under constant surveillance, and his safety is therefore the subject of great concern.

In addition, the following SCNC Members remain in detention, under what are described as deplorable conditions:

 *        Mbinglo H. Humphrey (65), Chairman, Northern Zone
*        Stephen Kongso (45), Bui County Chairman
*        Henry Lamnyam (35), Secretary, Donga Mantung County
*        Achu Njie David (56), Organizing Secretary,
*        Dr. Tantoh Simon (65), National Information Desk
*        Mami Mbiwan Anna (75), Advisor, Kumba LGA
*        Mongo Stephen (43), Activist, Bamenda LGA
*        Che Ngwa Lucas (59), Activist
*        Madame Mbi Ann Rita (60),
Activist, Kumba LGA
*        Augustine Elimtum (33), Activist, Kumba LGA
*        Clement Atanga (60), Activist
*        Lawrence Nyuydze (35), Activist, Bamenda LGA
*        Augustine Shintum, Activist, Kumba LGA

This action constitutes flagrant disrespect for the basic human right of freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, and UNPO strongly condemns what can only be seen as a measure of censorship and repression conducted by La Republique du Cameroun.