Cameroon has detained hundreds more supporters of opposition leader Maurice Kamto, who is facing treason charges after leading protests and asserting that he won last October’s presidential election.
The arrests happened Saturday as security forces disrupted a planned demonstration calling for Kamto’s release.
Book seller Germain Kamte was found lying on the ground Monday in the Nlonkak neighborhood of Cameroon’s capital with bruises all over her body.
She told the people who found her that police stopped her and four of her friends, accused them of supporting a planned opposition protest, and then beat them.
Kamte said the police beat her and four others severely, saying they were rude because two of the girls pleaded to be allowed to speak with their lawyers. Police kicked them all over their bodies, Kamte said, and used batons to beat them on their heads and under their feet.
Cameroon police refused to respond to Kamte’s accusations, but routinely deny use of excessive force.
Territorial administration minister Paul Atanga Nji said the police were deployed to maintain public order.
He said the planned protest by supporters of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement party was illegal and its arrested leader, Maurice Kamto, a threat to stability.
“We can no longer tolerate those who undermine the laws of the republic,” Nji said. “He [Kamto] has a hidden agenda to destabilize Cameroon. We will not give him the opportunity.”
Kamto’s supporters had promised to defy yet another ban on protests Saturday and demonstrate for his immediate release, along with over 500 arrested and detained supporters.
But Cameroon’s security forces disrupted the protest and detained about 200 more opposition supporters, according to the CRM party.