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Weekend Reads Cameroon: Kamto "blocked" at home but "always" ready for dialogue with Biya

10:00  26 september  2020
10:00  26 september  2020 Source:   rfi.fr

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Cameroon President Paul Biya ordered the release on October 4 of a prominent opposition leader, Maurice Kamto . The president also ordered the release of other members and supporters of Kamto ’s party, the Cameroon Kamto ’s release came on the last day of the “National Dialogue ,” a series of

Cameroon 's main opposition leader, Maurice Kamto , has been charged with insurrection, his lawyers say. If found guilty, Mr Kamto , who was arrested on Monday, could face a prison term of five years to life, the BBC's Killian Ngala Chimtom reports. The Cameroon Renaissance Movement (MRC)

L'opposant camerounais Maurice Kamto, lors d'une conférence de presse à Paris, le 30 janvier 2020 © STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN The Cameroonian opponent Maurice Kamto, during a press conference in Paris, January 30, 2020

In Cameroon, Maurice Kamto, the leader of the opposition, affirms that he has been "held" against his will at home for 5 days for having called for "peaceful marches" against the regime of Paul Biya, for 38 years in power, but that 'he is always "open to dialogue".

His appeal, co-signed by six other opposition parties, hardly mobilized, had noted AFP journalists in Yaoundé and Douala. But the government had, several days earlier, deployed an impressive security system, and promised to suppress what it called an "insurgency" under an anti-terrorism law.

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Cameroon 's President Paul Biya has said in a rare public address that he is organising a "national dialogue " for the end of the month on all the crises facing the country, including violence that has killed Opposition leader Maurice Kamto , who came in second, claimed to have won the election.

* Cameroon 's president Paul Biya on Friday praised this week's national dialogue , saying a series of recommendations had been published, including the

The police very violently dispersed on Tuesday the gathering of some 500 demonstrators in Douala, the economic capital, demanding the departure of Mr. Biya, and arrested that day dozens of people in this city and in Yaoundé, at the slightest beginning of gathering, including eight journalists.

In a telephone interview with AFP on Thursday and Friday evening, Mr. Kamto, 66, a famous international lawyer, challenger to Mr. Biya in the 2018 presidential election, imprisoned for nine months in 2019 for having contested his re-election already in " peaceful marches, "assures us today that Tuesday's appeal is only the beginning but that he is still ready to dialogue with the head of state.

AFP noted that his home in Yaoundé has been surrounded by the police since Monday but the government, asked to know whether Mr. Kamto was free to move around or not, still had not responded on Saturday morning.

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Biya also called on foreign nations to help him stop Cameroonians in the diaspora from sponsoring violence back at home . Political analyst Emmanuel Mbafor says Biya , by refusing to address the challenges Cameroon faces as expected, had simply indicated to the world that he is not ready for a

Opposition Cameroon Renaissance Movement, CRM party leader Maurice Kamto and e supporters dey among de 90 pipo weh president Biya order military For number four day for October for evening taim weh president Biya order military court for stop case for political party leader and e supporters.

Q - You weren't in the street on Tuesday when you called for "peaceful marches". Why ?

R - Because I couldn't (...) Until now (Friday evening, editor's note), I've been stuck at home with my household for five days. No one can enter or exit. Friday morning, the commissioner of the 6th arrondissement who covers my area told his elements: you take anyone who tries to leave. Under these conditions, neither I, nor anyone in my residence, tried to leave. I myself do not know what my status is, because no document has been served on me so far. Sequestration, blockade, extrajudicial detention, house arrest ... I am being held against my will.

Q - You were delighted with the "success" of the call for "peaceful marches" on Tuesday, but a number of observers noted a weak mobilization ...

R - The media are working quickly. In which country did you see such a deployment of repressive forces a week before the marches? (...) The device, the militarization of the main towns, sometimes including small towns, was in place before, during and after. And as I speak to you, we continue to arrest activists and sympathizers (...). If expressing oneself is putting a million people in the street so that we understand that the people are unhappy, they will probably never see that in Cameroon because there is, in our country, since before independence, a culture of repression and our defense and security forces are trained in this. But there were thousands of demonstrators (...) who risked their lives for their freedom. They were shot in Douala. People are being burned, I don't know what. Currently, we count 593 arrests.

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Four years into the separatist struggle, Biya still sees the conflict as an internal matter. His national dialogue for peace was stillborn and his decision to Read more: Cameroon crisis: 'Federalism is the solution,' says opposition leader Maurice Kamto . Anglophone separatists leaders were absent from

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Q - A few months ago, you were prepared to meet Mr. Biya. And today ?

R - I remain in the same state of mind. I never stopped reaching out. I am always open to dialogue. I'm ready. We are open to dialogue. It is a permanent posture. We have always thought, from the Movement for the Renaissance of Cameroon (MRC, of ​​which Mr. Kamto is the president, editor's note), from its launch in 2012, that only dialogue can resolve political differences (...). We must not accept that there are overflows to the point of violence. In a context of repression, of terror, those who marched on Tuesday, as during all our previous marches, did so peacefully. It was not an insurrection. We are not announcing an insurrection.

The Cameroonian people have stood up. This is not Maurice Kamto's business. It is not a party affair. It is a matter of a people who realize that the outlook is bleak. They have nothing more to offer Cameroon. Under these conditions, if they have not understood, if they do not create the conditions for alternation, for peaceful change, Cameroonians will continue to express themselves.

Interview over the phone by Reinnier Kaze in Yaoundé and Emmanuel Giroud in Libreville

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