Cameroon withdraws troops from opposition leader’s residence
Government troops have lifted a blockade on the residence of Cameroon opposition figure Maurice Kamto, an official of his Cameroon Renaissance Movement (MRC) party confirmed to The EastAfrican on Wednesday.
Barrister Emmanuel Simh, vice president of MRC and Kamto’s lawyer, said law enforcement officers who have been camping around residence left on Tuesday.
“I cannot say whether Prof Kamto is free to leave his house, but the security forces left the premises of his residence yesterday (Tuesday, December 8),” Mr Simh said.
The opposition leader had been under house arrest since September 22 when he called for street protests against the convening of the first-ever election of regional councillors in the country. Several other people were arrested during protests in different cities of the Central African country.
The withdrawal of the troops came two days after the December 6 regional vote that authorities described as “peaceful and transparent.”
Communication Minister and government spokesperson, Emmanuel Rene Sadi, in a statement on Tuesday said the decision had been taken “to ease measures taken to foil the insurgency launched by the MRC.”
He said that despite calls for a boycott, “the voter turnout everywhere was satisfactory.”
When the MRC party announced the protests in early September, Cameroon’s minister of territorial administration, Paul Atanga Nji, said the demonstrations had been banned and warned that anyone seen participating in the “illegal protests” would be arrested.
He added that protests would endanger lives by exposing more people to Covid-19.
Days after the protests, the opposition party said about 500 people had been arrested. However, the government spokesperson said in October that 294 people were arrested during September 22 anti-Biya protests and that 176 of them had been released.
The withdrawal of the troops from the opposition leader’s residence is however not the end of judicial proceedings against those arrested during the protests.
“Legal proceedings initiated against the perpetrators and organisers on the insurgency will continue,” Mr Sadi said. “The situation of the MRC leader and his party will continue to be closely examined by the competent judicial and administrative authorities.”