Yaoundé (AFP) – The jailed head of Cameroon’s anglophone separatists, Julius Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, has launched a hunger strike to protest the “disappearance” of co-detainees following prison riots, one of his lawyers said Thursday.
Ayuk Tabe, self-proclaimed president of “Ambazonia”, the breakaway state the separatists want to create in the central African country, stopped eating as of midnight Tuesday along with nine of his supporters, lawyer Joseph Fru told AFP.
In a letter to Cameroon Justice Minister Laurent Esso whose authenticity was verified by AFP, Ayuk Tabe said the unlimited hunger strike was in protest at the disappearance of “our compatriots” from the two prisons.
Hundreds of inmates mutinied at an overcrowded central prison in the capital Yaounde on July 22, then the next day at a prison in Buea, the capital of one of Cameroon’s two minority anglophone regions.
The rioters, many of them government opponents or supporters of the English-speaking separatist movement, filmed their protest and posted elements to Facebook.
The government announced 177 arrests including of anglophone separatists.
But it denied rumours that an anglophone leader Mancho Bibixy had been tortured and killed at the hands of the authorities.