The NGO Human Rights Watch called on Tuesday for the release of English-speaking activist Abdul Karim Ali, arrested last week in Bamenda.
Abdul Karim Ali, who has been campaigning for a peaceful resolution to the Anglophone crisis for years, was arrested by security forces in Bamenda, in the North West region. According to the NGO Human Rights Watch, he was informed that he was accused of glorifying terrorism, for having had in his possession on his phone a video showing alleged human rights violations committed by a Cameroonian soldier against civilians in English-speaking regions.
In a statement on its website, the NGO denounced the conditions of his detention and called for his immediate release. “Arbitrary detentions and ill-treatment of detainees are commonplace in Cameroon. Many people perceived to be opposed to the government are imprisoned on spurious charges related to national security or terrorism,” the human rights NGO charged.
Shortly after, the response was quick to come from the hierarchy of the Cameroonian army. Questioned by AFP, the spokesman for the army, Cyrille Atonfack Guemo sent a spade to the NGO, accusing it of having, with its “its financiers and sponsors“, “unacknowledged objectives to achieve in Cameroon “. “We have ours: to protect our country and its institutions. It is a sacred duty carried out with honour, fidelity and loyalty by the defense and security forces”, declared the Captain.
Relations are strained between Cameroonian authorities and Human Rights Watch following accusations against government forces in the ongoing conflict in the English-speaking regions. Yaoundé often criticizes HRW for only accusing government forces while separatists commit atrocities against civilian populations and defense and security forces.