Rev. Pastor Mbock Eleazar, National President of Human Rights Cameroon NGO, has revealed to The Cameroon Journal, findings of investigations carried out by his organisation to ascertain reports on human rights abuses recorded during the on-going protests in the North West and South West regions. He confided in the Journal on Friday December 30, after receiving a last-minute ban on a press conference the organisation had scheduled to hold in Yaounde same day.
Rev. Pastor Mbock Eleazar,
“The Yaoundé SDO said the topic was too sensitive and asked me to organise the news conference after President Biya’s traditional address to the nation on December 31.” He said.
Rev. Mbock said contrary to government’s declaration of two deaths in the bloody clashes of December 8 in Bamenda, he and his team went to the mortuary of the Bamenda Regional Hospital and discovered that four people were killed, one of which did not have bullet wounds.
“His medical certificate said he died of trauma. But I cannot tell whether it was torture or he was trampled upon by other protesters.” He listed the deceased as Sambela Divine from Bali, Akum Julius from Mankon, Bonke Divine from Kumbo and Doh Clement from Mankon. He said another person had died on November 22 from injuries sustained while 10 others sustained severe injuries same day.
Still at the Bamenda regional hospital, he said three victims who were shot by security officers are still under medical attention including an 11-year old boy who, he said, was shot in the stomach. “The bullet went out through his buttocks, as you can see in this photograph. The boy was going to their shop during the protest and was shot from a military helicopter”, Rev. Mbock said, holding up a photo of the boy, lying on a hospital bed.
Hospital authorities, he said, informed Human Rights Cameroon that among the detainees still languishing in detention centres in Yaounde, are volunteers who came to donate blood in the hospital but were arrested by forces of
law and order. He also brandished a photo of a pillar in the hospital building which was shot with a live bullet.
Bamenda 3rd district police brigade he said, was completely destroyed with several motorbikes and documents consumed by flames. Injured police officers who had been sent to Bamenda from Yaounde were sent back for treatment, according to police sources.
He said from their investigations, security forces reacted negatively to the provocation of the protesters. He also noted that the protests were smacked by provocations from government ministers who instead of finding solutions to teachers and lawyers’ sit-down strikes, went ahead to organise a political rally in Bamenda.
“The rights of protesters were violated as they were shot with live bullets instead of rubber bullets, some of them were arrested randomly from the streets, and from their homes, detained and tortured. The transfer to Yaounde, of
This 11-year old boy the rights report states, was shot in the stomach. “The bullet went out through his buttocks, as you can see in this photograph. The boy was going to their shop during the protest and was shot from a military helicopter”, Rev. Mbock said.
protesters arrested in Bamenda on December 8, is a human right violation because a fair trial cannot be guaranteed;” Said the President of Human Rights Cameroon.
He revealed that the detainees are charged with acts of terrorism and insurrection. He said though he is recommending that they should be released as a step towards solving the on-going crisis, he said the Military Court in Bamenda is supposed to try them not the one in Yaounde, as per the law on suppression of acts of terrorism enacted in 2014.
Human Rights Cameroon also reported they found out that the detainees’ right to communication were abused. “They were incarcerated in centres where their family members had no access and no communication was made as regards their whereabouts” the report read in part.
Most of the detainees were arbitrary arrested at the Bamenda Regional Hospital, streets and homes and not on the protest ground.
The President of Human Rights Cameroon told The Cameroon Journal that he would recommend that government should give protesters what they want. He posited that a ten-state federalism would be a solution to
the on-going struggle against Anglophone marginalisation.
“As our brothers and sisters go out to march on January 2, 2017, they can march throughout the whole year, but let there be mutual respect between them and security forces. This will prevent further disruption of property and loss of lives”, he said.
It was revealed that between November 21 and December 8, following the teachers’ strike which took the cue from Common Law Lawyers, many people were arrested.
25 persons were arrested and detained in the Bamenda Central Prison on December 5 and 6, which is prove that they did not take part in the December 8 strike. They were detained for 15 days under prefectural order number 610P0E29PS. They were battered and severely tortured, says the human rights report. They were presented before the state counsel and charged.
At the gendarmerie legion in Bamenda, we found out that 34 people were arrested on December 8 and later transferred to Yaounde for investigations. We requested to have the list so that family members would know the whereabouts of their loved ones but the commander said he is not authorised to. We also sought to know who gave orders for security officers to fire at unarmed civilians with live bullets but had no answers. The Rev. Mbock disclosed.
At the regional delegation for public security, the organisation learned the police arrested 15 people on December 8. They were equally transferred to Yaounde and charged with insurrection, destruction, degradation of state property and group rebellion.
Rev. Mbock told The Journal, closed to forty people between the ages of 17 and 40 are currently being held in the Kondengui Maximum Security prison and the dungeons of the Gendarmerie Headquarters in Yaounde.