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Prisoners? What prisoners? asks Cameroon minister

media The flag of Cameroon

Cameroon's government refuses to confirm or deny claims by an Anglophone separatist group that 50 of its members are in jail without trial. Communication Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary told RFI that to do so would violate the division of power with the legal system, adding that there will be no talks with the Southern Cameroon National Council.

“The separation of power forbids me from saying anything about people who might be or might not be in jail today,” Bakary told RFI in reaction to allegations made by the Southern Cameroon National Council that 50 of its members have been jailed by the government.

“I know nothing about it, and if I knew I refuse to interfere with a power that is completely separated with the executive,” said Bakary.

The National Council is seeking autonomy for the Anglophone south of the country, the former British Trust Territory of Southern Cameroons.

Bakary said the government would not negotiate with the group as long as it continues to advocate secession.

“For as long as they have in mind to secede, to break the nation, there is no ground of negotiation with them,” he said, adding that the group should reform itself as a political party and “fight in the political arena”.

“Let them be free to come and compete with any other political party or politician in Cameroon,” he said.

The secessionist movement has taken the Cameroonian government to court at the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.

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