We have been informed that on Sunday 17 July, 15 activists fighting for the self-determination of the English-speaking Southern Cameroons were arrested by the police at a restaurant in Buea. They are held in Buea Central Prison. They have not been charged and do not know what they are accused of. Most likely they will be accused of “illegal gathering”. This underlines the authoritarian character of the arrests.
The 15 are Shey Alfred Sembe, Fokum Andrew, Moto James, Njousi Abang David, Chief Ekane Ivoson Maths, Bissong Mathias Arrey, Tabot James Arrey, Tebot Titanji Christian, Mokube Alus Ngoe (who is blind), Nke Valentine, Tonjoh Peter Fehbi, Asoh Cletus ,Mbua Richard and Check Nyah. They are regional and local representatives of Southern Cameroon National Council (SCNC).
Their trial in Buea Court was adjourned on both 25th and 26th July 25. A new date is set for August 12th. The court denied them bail.
We are also aware that there are many other activists arrested in 2014 and 2015 that are still waiting in prison for their trial. The conditions in prison are inhuman. We have seen reports of prisoners that have been tortured and being denied food, water and medical attention.
It is also clear that a growing opinion is supporting those arrested. Protests took place outside the court on both 25th and 26th July, with many young people attending. The police blocked them from entering the court building.
The arrests show the state is increasing its repression. At the same time, protests over this repression, as well as the general conditions, are growing.
We will raise these issues in the workers’ movement, grassroots organisations and in society, in general. We support the democratic rights of the arrested and all other activists in Cameroon to meet and to discuss and spread their ideas.
We demand the immediate release of the 15 and all political prisoners!