Patrice Nganang, a Cameroonian professor and author was last week arrested by the police as he was due to fly out of the country to Zimbabwe, where his family resides.
The cause of his arrest has been pinned on his critical views of president Paul Biya’s handling of the ‘Anglophone crisis’ in the northwest and southwest regions of Cameroon.
His wife and lawyer averred that he was being held over an article he authored and which was published in the French magazine, Jeune Afrique.
His lawyer Emmanuel Simh said last Friday: “He is accused of insulting the president of the republic, and after the hearings we will be able to give further information.”
But the information minister, Issa Bakary Tchiroma is also reported as saying Nganang’s arrest was over a Facebook post threatening the president.
His arrest “arose following a promise of death on the person of the Head of State, made by the person concerned through a message posted on his Facebook page, December 3, 2017 at 19 hours 27 minutes”, AFP quoted Mr. Tchiroma as saying.
What has become known as the ‘Anglophone Crisis’ in Cameroon is at the stage of an armed confrontation between secessionists and the army. President Paul Biya two weeks ago declared war on the activities of the secessionists.
The declaration followed attacks on members of the security forces, which incidents claimed six lives – four soldiers and two policemen weeks ago. It brought the total number of casualties to 10 after four others were killed earlier.
The separatists are pushing for an independent country that seeks to breakaway with the two predominantly Anglophone regions.
The Cameroonian government has been slammed in the recent past by rights organizations like Amnesty and Human Rights Watch for trampling on the rights of the media and political actors. Yaounde is accused of torturing people being held and unnecessarily delaying trials which do not follow the due course of the law.