Updated: February 24, 2021
Cameroon main opposition figure, Maurice Kamto, has been released from prison after the government announced on Friday that insurrection charges against him and his comrades were being dropped as a gesture of national reconciliation by four-decade-in-power President Paul Biya.
Mr. Kamto was released on Saturday after a brief hearing at a military tribunal to the cheering of his supporters in the capital Yaounde. About 100 of his comrades out of about 200 who were arrested in January 2019 during protests against election results were also released.
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Kamto, the head of the opposition Cameroon Renaissance Movement (MRC), finished runner-up to Biya in last October’s presidential election but declared himself president, saying that the polls were massively rigged.
On Thursday, Biya announced that 333 people arrested in the Anglophone regions following unrest there were also being released following the successful completion of a national dialogue to resolve Cameroon’s lingering crises.
The Anglophone crisis in the South West and North West regions has left close to 2000 lives over the past two years.
The government announced on Friday that some MRC members would be freed, but it was not clear whether Kamto would be among them.
“This release is a good thing. It shows good faith,” Felix Agbor, one of Kamto’s lawyers, told Reuters. “But I think it’s necessary to pardon others who have already been convicted.”