Cameroon opposition figure Maurice Kamto has been placed under what seems like a house arrest at his residence in the capital Yaounde. For now, no one is allowed to enter or leave his residence .
A joint team of police and gendarmerie officers accompanied by Toyota pickups and armored vehicles could be seen stationed at the residence of Kamto who is the leader of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement in Yaounde.
The opposition party led a protest last Tuesday September 22, 2020, demanding 87 year old Paul Biya who has ruled the country for close to 38 years to step down. A security guard who was on duty at the residence was also arrested Saturday.
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Cameroonian authorities are yet to confirm whether he has been officially placed under house arrest. But Kamto told his legal team that “my house is being held hostage since Sunday September 20 by a mixed force of police and Gendarmerie officers.”
Lawyers who have publicly declared their intension of defending him had obtained permission from the National Police Chief to see him, which they eventually did Monday.
In an audio recording released by one of his lawyers, Kamto described the stationing of heavy military hardware as useless.
To him, “the repressive forces are demonstrating against an armless civilian and his family who just want to live in peace. These conditions are inhuman because no official information has been given to me. If I am under house arrest, let it be made known.”
The Cameroon Government accuses Maurice Kamto of using insurrection to topple Paul Biya following the September 22 anti-Biya protests. In a public statement signed by the spokesman Rene Emmanuel Sadi, Government announced that the situation of Maurice Kamto is “being examined thoroughly by the competent judicial authorities.” But the CRM leader denies those claims arguing he believes in a pacific political transition. “None of those who demonstrated caused disorder. It was a peaceful march. But the repressive forces of Mr Biya have arrested hundreds of my supporters and are planning to arrest me too. Taking part in peaceful protest is a fundamental human right.”
International lawyer, Robert Amsterdam who initially warned Paul Biya against cracking down on the September 22 protest has promised tough days for him and other top regime officials.
“… It is my intention, along with co-counsel, to bring legal claims before appropriate national, regional and international courts. In addition, we are prepared to advocate for the imposition of economic and other sanctions against government officials who have violated the basic human rights of Kamto, his associates and the peaceful protesters,” Amsterdam threatened.
Kamto’s spokesman Olivier Bibou Nissack and his party’s National Treasurer Alain Fogue are already in detention at the Gendarmerie headquarters in Yaounde.
It is also feared that his party, the Cameroon Renaissance Movement which is under scrutiny by the Ministry of Territorial Administration could be dissolved should he be arrested officially.