Anglophones arrested in North West and South West regions in the wake of the ongoing anglophone crisis are staging a mass open-ended hunger strike aimed at protesting against “illegal arrest, deplorable prison conditions and an end to the practice of holding hundreds of detainees without charge.”
In a letter dated June 5, addressed to the Yaounde Central Prison Superintendent, the detainees asked why they are still held without charge despite the United Nation’s call for the liberation of all arrested in relation to the strike actions in English speaking Cameroon.
The detainees equally decried the fact that they have been in detention for six months, far away from their families. ”We are far away from our families and have no means of assistance or assisting them despite the difficult time they are going through. “We note among other things that there are teachers, students and school proprietors and a cross section of English speaking Cameroonians languishing in jail. During our detention, we have lost our jobs, livelihood…our family are on the streets and we are unable to provide them with any form of assistance”.
In the letter, the detainees reveal that some of them have developed psychological problems while others have died from an epidemic as result of the trumped up charges by the military tribunal and deplorable prison conditions respectively.
It was also revealed that the Yaounde Military Tribunal is demanding the sum of F CFA 10,000F CFA before any case could be brought to court. “The Yaounde military tribunal is demanding the sum of 10,000FCFA from us before our case files are released to our defence counsel. Some of us have been badly beaten, most of us have fallen sick and barely survived an epidemic that took the lives of many prisoners”
“For this reason we have taken a very difficult decision to starve ourselves up to a point where a logical solutions can be found for the above mention points” The letter states.
According to the detainees, going on a hunger strike is the only way to resist these abuses and shed more light on the difficult humanitarian conditions inside Cameroon’s prisons.