By Mua Patrick, April 5, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Yaoundé – Some 64 Anglophone detainees being held at the Central Prison in Kondengui have described their incarceration situation as life threatening.
The detainees, arrested in the Northwest and Southwest during ongoing political crisis in the two regions spoke to a visiting delegation of Members of Parliament from opposition Social Democratic Front, SDF party.
During the visit yesterday Wednesday, the detainees told the SDF delegation led by National Assembly Vice president, Hon. Mbah Ndam Joseph, that for the most part, their detention in Kondengui remains life-threatening.
Briefing newsmen shortly after the Kondengui visit, Mbah Ndam, who was accompanied by Hon. Awudu Mbaya Cyprian, Wilfred Fusi Namukong, Ndong Larry Hills and Njong Evaristus, said the SDF is greatly concerned about the appalling health conditions of some of the detainees.
“The medical attention given these inmates is a cause for concern,” said Mbah Ndam who added that “it is a very pitiful situation, I must say.”
Briefing reporters about their Kondengui visit, Mbah Ndam said the SDF lawmakers interacted with the detainees, quizzing them on issues related to their health and general welfare.
“We have identified those who are sick. Remember that when I came here the last time, I said that one of the detainees is epileptic and as I went there today, I have realised that the one who is epileptic has wounds all over his body. It is really disturbing and we are trying to see how we can furnish the relevant medication for him.”
“Another one has asthma and says he has not had access to his drugs. There are two who are mentally deranged. I don’t know whether it is as a result of the incarceration or they were in that state as at the time of their arrest,” added Mbah Ndam.
“Those are the critical cases that we have noticed and I as a lawyer; we are trying to see how we may eventually seek bail at worst for them. We are going to look into that and we are going to relay what we are doing to the group of lawyers who are organising the defence.”
Asked if the SDF is taking special measures to ensure the release of Zama Godden, SDF Limbe I electoral district chairman who was arrested and later detained in Kondengui, Mbah Ndam replied: “We are defending a cause not individuals.”
“I think we will not want to carry out this defence in that manner because a quasar majority of them are SDF militants. When you see activists, you will normally know that they are people who have been schooled in the practice of freedom. So we are not taking any specific measures to release our district chairman and leave the other people there.”
“As far as we are concerned, we have the duty to organise a defence for all of them especially those of the grassroots. We as social democrats and lawyers who believe in social democracy, we are more concerned with those at the base. We were telling them to be brave because we know that they are political victims and victims of circumstance,” explained Mbah Ndam.
Mbah Ndam clarified that at the start of the March session of Parliament, the SDF Parliamentary group resolved to maintain contact with those who have been arrested from the North West and South West Regions and ‘deported’ to Yaounde.
“This has been a very disquieting situation. So we had to organise to go see them, give them food and also to be sure that they are alive. We have seen them, they are 64 in number in the main prison in Kondengui,” he told reporters.
MPs take gifts to detainees
The visiting delegation took along with them to Kondengui, material and financial assistance. Amongst the coveted items offered the inmates were several bags of rice, toiletries, dozens of bottles of mineral water and cartoons of soap and milk.
Dr Fontem Neba, Secretary General of the outlawed Anglophone Civil Society Consortium appreciating the gesture on behalf of the inmates, said the Anglophone detainees are grateful not only for the material items offered them but also for the words of encouragement echoed by the various speakers during the visit.
Fontem, dressed in a brown short, blue-T-shirt and sandals, said no other assistance could have been timelier. “We are grateful to the SDF for this assistance. It will really assist us a great deal,” said Fontem.