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Cameroon: Judiciary extends custody for detained Biya critic


Detained Cameroonian writer Patrice Nganang will be held for another 48 hours after the country’s judiciary extended his custody.

Nganang has spent six days in custody at the Yaounde Judicial Police Directorate cells and
according to his lawyer, the extension of his custody is illegal because he was not notified during his arrest.

Police accuse him of alleged “death threats” against Cameroonian President Paul Biya and forgery.

Nganang was arrested last Wednesday at the Douala Airport as he was preparing to fly out to Harare, Zimbabwe. Nganang had published a post on his facebook page declaring that if given opportunity, he would lodge a bullet on president Biya’s forehead.

His post went viral in Cameroon and his defenders regard the writer’s detention as politically motivated. The cause of his arrest has also been been pinned on his critical views on president Paul Biya’s handling of the ‘Anglophone crisis’ in the northwest and southwest regions of Cameroon, although Cameroon’s information minister Issa Bakary Tchiroma insisted the arrest was over the Facebook post.

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.

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