While chatting with inmates at the Military Tribunal, Barrister Njong told The Post that they revealed to him that, of the “over the 75 wounded, only five were taken to the Regional Hospital, because of the nature of their injuries. The rest are still in prison. Only the prison nurses are managing the wounds. They told me that for some, their wounds already smell. I have tried to have access to them, as their Counsel, to no avail.”
Barrister Njong and his team say they have moved on to petition the Attorney General of the South West Court of Appeal on the unwarranted treatment of their clients, as well as the infringement on their rights.
The Post quotes Barrister Njong as saying that they have written to the Attorney General, “Craving his indulgence to compel the prison authorities to allow access, so that I can be able to visit my clients, discuss with them and also asses the state of their health. It is my right to visit my clients, to discuss with them. It is not a privilege that they have to grant to me.”
“The Post also learnt from sources within Buea Central Prison, who claim that the death toll was about 11. Our sources said those wounded were over 70 and have untreated wounds. Our sources revealed that those wounded are still being punished.
“He said those with wounds have been chained up in twos. He said when a relative of any of the wounded inmates comes visiting with food, the warders are the ones who receive the food, and then decide on when to give the inmate concerned, as relatives are not allowed to see them.
“Speaking from his sick bed, after he was brutalised by Gendarmes, Barrister Amungwa Tanyi, in charge of Communication and Media Relations for detained Southern Cameroons leaders and other detainees, said they are monitoring the developments closely, to hold the powers-that-be to account,” The Post reported.
Zero death in Buea, 20 arrested
With regard to the incidents that took place on July 23, 2019 at the Buea Main Prison, during which insurgent prisoners used the same procedure, by stubbornly refusing any dialogue with the administrative and penitentiary authorities, and opting to ransack and burn down the various facilities of the prison, the Forces of Law and Order who were deployed to restore calm, order and discipline, were able to limit the extent of the damage, government says.
In a press conference Friday, August 2, 2019, Communication Minister and Government Spokesman, Rene Emmanuel Sadi gave a fresh and “truthful” account of the events surrounding the mutinies that rocked the Kondengui Central Prison in Yaoundé and the Buea Main Prison in the South West Region on July 22 and 23, 2019, respectively.
Hear Sadi: “The mutiny orchestrated in this penitentiary establishment, as you know, did not in its part record any loss in human life. Meanwhile, two elements of the security forces were injured, and 43 inmates among the insurgents were wounded, of which, twenty were immediately taken care of at the prison infirmary, and another inmate rushed to a nearby hospital in the city of Buea for medical attention. As we speak, the health condition of all the injured has greatly improved, while the usual procedures initiated against the 20 insurgents identified as the leaders have also been closed.”
In the face of these serious incidents perpetrated in an obviously sensitive prison environment, and with regard to the recurring problem of prison overcrowding in Cameroon, Sadi said the President of the Republic, His Excellency Paul Biya, has ordered the Government to take all appropriate measures: - to speed-up ongoing judicial proceedings; - to rigorously monitor the strengthening of disciplinary measures in all penitentiary institutions in the country; - to strengthen and modernize the means of controlling and monitoring the prisoners; - to decongest the various prisons with proven overcrowding; - to strongly ban the entry and use of all tools and ingredients prohibited in prisons by the regulations in force.
“Moreover, special instructions have been given to relevant sector-based administrations in order to extend the premises of certain prisons that have exceeded their capacity,” Sadi revealed.
The Minister of Communication insists that Government’s account is the whole truth, although many are those demanding proof of life for those exfiltrated from the prisons.
“The foregoing is, Ladies and Gentlemen, the truth of the situation in the aftermath of the serious incidents that occurred on July 22 and 23 in the Kondengui and Buea prisons. With the calm that has now returned and the related measures taken at all levels, the Government urges all 7 citizens to abide by the laws and regulations of the Republic, and is especially calling on inmates to comply with applicable disciplinary measures,” said Sadi.
The government spokesman furthers: “The matter at stake is their individual and collective interest as well as the authority of the powers that be, which is and remains the guarantee of the solidity and stability of our institutions. In accordance with the Special Directives of the Head of State, and with regard to its share of responsibility in speeding-up the ongoing judicial proceedings, the Government hereby reaffirms its resolve to effectively work to ensure with due diligence, the conduct of necessary procedures, in strict compliance with the established legal order.”