25, December 2016
Over two dozens of youths arrested in Bamenda, North West region during two separate strike actions staged on November 21, 2016 and December 8 have gained freedom. A former detainee who wanted to be called only by his surname, Elvis reveals that over 25 of them incarcerated at the Bamenda Central prison were released on bail Friday December 23, 2016 .
He said they were presented before state council and that their case was defended by some lawyers and Human rights activists. According to information independently gathered those who are still in prison are unable to bail themselves or pay for charges levied against them. The 25 were among others arrested during the uprising in Bamenda when a strike action initiated by Common law Lawyers and Anglophone Teachers turned violent and the Bamenda population joined in to denounce among others poor road networks and limited water supply.
The youths also staged a strike action and prevented the CPDM party from holding a unity meeting on December 8, 2016 but they met with police brutality as live bullets, tear gas and water cannons were used on them. Over half a dozen died but government sources counted just two deaths. However the fate of other youths over 50 transported to Yaoundé on helicopter is still to be determined. Common Law Lawyers and Allophone Teachers have set their release as a pre condition for dialogue with the government, without which dialogue will end on deadlock.
What has left untold about the Bamenda twin strike action on November 21 and December 8 this year leaves much to be desired. Most of those arrested were never part of the strike; in fact they were just unfortunate passer bys. Elvis who was released Friday sells plantains in Bamenda. That fateful December 8, he was returning from his site of sale and was intercepted by police forces who asked to see his palms, immediately they saw that they were dirty, they arrested him with pretext that he too was involved in burning tires and throwing stones. Like Elvis, several other youths were randomly arrested and detained, some brutalized.
Some of the youths who died were taken to their early grave by stray bullets. At City Chemist roundabout a youth went to fetch water but died on the spot after a stray bullet got him. Another youth went outside their home to eat his Pawpaw but a bullet came from nowhere and struck her mouth denying him the Pawpaw and squeezing life out of him.
Contrary to a situational report from North West Governor Adolphe LELE L’Afrique to Communication Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary, which indicated that only two persons died, there have been more than six corpse removals from the Bamenda hospital mortuary, an indication that over half a dozen persons died. There are still some youths who were critically injured in hospitals as fear heightens they might give up the ghost.
Culled from Cameroun Info. Net