Writers call for release of Cameroonian author Patrice Nganang

2017-12-08 21:30
Cameroonian President Paul Biya. (File, AFP)

Cameroonian President Paul Biya. (File, AFP)

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Douala - Writers and activists on Friday appealed for the immediate release of the Cameroonian author Patrice Nganang, arrested after publishing a critical opinion piece about the country's president.

The group of 17 writers from both Africa and the West launched an online petition calling on authorities to free Nganang, who was taken into custody on Wednesday.

The Central Africa Human Rights Defenders Network and Tribunal Article 53, a local human rights organisation, on Friday denounced "the abduction, arrest and arbitrary detention" of the author, calling for his unconditional release.

Nganang, who teaches literature at New York University, on Tuesday published an opinion piece in French on the Jeune Afrique news site that was critical of Cameroonian President Paul Biya's handling of the anglophone crisis.

He was arrested the following day, after finishing a visit to mainly French-speaking Cameroon, during which he visited the restive anglophone regions that have been hit by an anti-secession government crackdown.

"It will probably take another political regime to make the state understand that the machine gun cannot stem a movement," wrote Nganang, who lives in the United States.

"Only change at the head of the state can settle the anglophone conflict in Cameroon," he said.

Calls for greater autonomy in Cameroon's two English-speaking areas, the Northwest and Southwest Regions, have been rejected by Biya whose government has led a crackdown on the separatist drive.

Anglophones make up about a fifth of the country's 22 million people, and often say they suffer from economic inequality and discrimination, especially in education and the legal system.

Read more on:    paul biya  |  cameroon  |  west africa

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