Dozens of critics and opponents of the government were detained without charge or trial; most were prisoners of conscience. Torture, including severe beatings, by police and gendarmes continued to be routine and prison conditions remained harsh. More than 50 civilians were extrajudicially executed by government forces in the far north of the country. Opposition to the government of President Paul Biya continued as salaries and living standards dropped sharply; the government responded to strikes by public service employees, including teachers, with arrests and dismissals. In November President Biya announced that public debate on constitutional reform, previously abandoned, would resume. A constitutional committee was established in December to discuss amendments to the Constitution proposed by the government. Members of opposition political parties, critical of the committee's terms of reference, refused to participate. Earlier in the year the English-speaking community had advocated a federal system of government. Conflict, including outbreaks of fighting, continued between the Kotoko and Shua Arab communities in the far north and dozens of people died in clashes in late December 1993 and early January 1994. Government forces deployed to curb violence between the two communities and also to prevent attacks by armed robbers were themselves responsible for human rights abuses. Hundreds of civilians sought refuge in Chad and Nigeria. A long-standing border dispute with neighbouring Nigeria over the Bakassi peninsula in the southwest intensified early in the year, prompting sporadic fighting between Cameroonian and Nigerian armed forces. Dozens of critics and opponents of the government, who included members of opposition political parties, trade unionists and journalists, were detained, usually without charge or trial. Most were prisoners of conscience. The security forces regularly kept suspected government opponents in custody for longer than the 72 hours allowed by law before they were released or referred to a judicial authority. Among members of opposition political parties arrested was Janvier Deny, a taxi-driver and treasurer of the local section of the Union des forces démocratiques du Cameroun (UFDC), Union of Cameroon Democratic Forces, who was arrested by police on 12 January in Ebolowa, Southern Province. He denied any knowledge of a report found in his taxi of a meeting organized by teachers, at that time on strike; his arrest appeared to be an attempt to intimidate opposition political parties before local government elections scheduled to take place in the following months but subsequently postponed. He was held without charge or trial under successive administrative detention orders until his release on 19 February. Members of the opposition Union nationale pour la démocratie et le progrès (UNDP), National Union for Democracy and Progress, were detained following an incident in Maroua, Far-North Province, on 30 July during which one person was killed and several wounded. There were clashes when government minister Hamadou Mustapha, also a UNDP member, was attacked with stones following his arrival in Maroua allegedly by some UNDP members who criticized him for remaining in President Biya's government. Some people were apparently arrested during the clashes but most were arrested at their homes later that day or in the following days. They included Hamadou Adji, president of the local section of the UNDP. Twenty-eight people were charged with complicity in joint acts of looting, assault occasioning death, obstruction of the public highway and causing slight bodily harm. In November a court ordered the provisional release of 14 of them, but the prosecuting authorities appealed against this and all remained held at the end of the year. Most of the detainees appeared to have been detained solely because they opposed participation of UNDP members in the government. Dozens of supporters of the Social Democratic Front (SDF) were arrested following calls in October by the SDF for demonstrations to mark the anniversary of the 1992 presidential election, in which SDF leader John Fru Ndi was narrowly defeated, and in protest against deteriorating living standards. In the capital, Yaoundé, 12 SDF supporters, including a woman, were arrested on 15 October and held in police custody without charge for three days. About 100 others were reported to have been arrested and beaten by police on 18 October in Fundong, North-West Province; about 30 were subsequently transferred to a police station in Bamenda where they received further beatings. They were released uncharged on 27 October. In November, six leaders of opposi-tion political parties which had recently formed a new coalition – the Allied Front for Change – were arrested by police during a peaceful demonstration in Yaoundé. They were released after questioning. The government attempted to suppress trade union protest against salary cuts by arrests and large-scale dismissals. A strike by teachers had begun in November 1993; in January, 11 teachers, including a woman, all members of the Syndicat national autonome de l'Enseignement secondaire (SNAES), National Autonomous Union of Secondary Education, were detained without charge by police for six days. Further arrests of trade unionists occurred in March during a strike by other public service employees. Cyprian Lionel Fofuh-Fru, president of the Cameroon Public Servants Union (capsu), was arrested on 1 March in Bamenda because of his peaceful trade union activities and held until the following day. Che John Njiyang, a treasury employee, was also arrested on 1 March after protesting to police about Cyprian Fofuh-Fru's detention; his wife Mary Lum Njiyang was arrested later the same day and both were held until 4 March. Despite a government announcement in September that press restrictions would be eased, harassment of journalists and confiscation of newspapers continued. Several independent newspapers had been suspended earlier in the year. On 7 March copies of Le Messager carrying an article about the border dispute with Nigeria were confiscated; its editor, Pius Njawe, was questioned by police the following day. Ndzana Seme, director of the weekly Le Nouvel Indépendant, was detained for three days in January; he was again arrested on 14 October in Yaoundé for publishing articles questioning the activities of President Biya and Jean Fochivé, Secretary of State for Internal Security. He was released on 23 December after being convicted of defamation of the head of state and sentenced to one year's imprisonment, suspended for three years, and a fine. He had been beaten in police custody before being transferred to prison. Torture, including severe beatings, of both political detainees and of criminal suspects by the police and gendarmerie remained routine. Some victims died as a result of their injuries. The frequency of beatings of detainees, including on the soles of their feet, was acknowledged publicly at a training seminar for law enforcement officials, including police, gendarmes and prison officers, organized in July by the Comité national des droits de l'homme et des libertés, National Commission for Human Rights and Freedoms, which had been inaugurated by President Biya in 1992. Students arrested on 12 January following disturbances at the University of Yaoundé were reportedly beaten by police and then taken to the "Americanos", a detention centre outside Yaoundé which had become notorious for ill-treatment. They were reportedly tortured for several hours before being released. Che John Njiyang and Mary Lum Njiyang, arrested in March (see above), were beaten and held in a small, crowded cell with male criminal suspects who were stripped to their underclothes. When Simon Nkwenti, Secretary General of capsu, went to the police station to inquire about them, he too was arrested and beaten unconscious; he was released the following day. In April Desiré Nkeu was arrested by soldiers in Edéa, Littoral Province, accused of burglary. He died the same day at a military barracks after he had been severely beaten. When a lawyer from the Public Prosecutor's office visited a police station in Yaoundé in October to inspect detainees he was himself held for five hours, stripped and beaten. Six police officers were subsequently arrested. However, the authorities were not known to have investigated other reports of torture and ill-treatment by the police and gendarmerie. Prison conditions remained harsh and there were reports of cruel, inhuman or degrading forms of punishment for even minor infringements of regulations by prisoners. For example, in the Central Prison in Douala, prisoners were reportedly held naked in punishment cells without natural light or sanitary facilities. Others were reportedly punished by beatings or being chained and suspended upside-down. Large numbers of prisoners died because of lack of proper diet and medical care. For example, as many as 150 prisoners died in the Central Prison in Maroua during the year. Soldiers deployed to restore order in areas affected by the conflict between the Kotoko and Shua were responsible for the arrest, torture and unlawful killing of Shua. In January several Shua, including traditional chiefs, were arrested after nine members of the security forces were killed in an ambush in the area of Logone Birni near the border with Chad in the Department of Logone and Shari. The Shua were arrested even though the government claimed that Chadian dissidents were responsible for the killings. Some of those arrested appeared to have been detained after being denounced to the security forces by rival Kotoko. One of those arrested, Malloum Eli, was reported to have died after torture at a military barracks. Other Shua were arrested on 21 January at Afadé, transferred to Kousséri and then to Waza. They included Haroun Djidda and Allakhou Mahmat who were reported to have died after being beaten and tortured with cigarette lighters and burning plastic bags, and Issa Mahmat who was believed to have been shot dead on 23 January. On 17 February government forces extrajudicially executed more than 50 Shua villagers at Karena on the shores of Lake Chad, apparently in revenge for the killing of a soldier. The day before, the village chief and a soldier had been killed in an incident involving armed bandits. During a funeral ceremony for the village chief, soldiers surrounded the village, fired indiscriminately at villagers and set fire to their homes. Nine women and 35 children, including babies, were among those killed. Many of the victims were burned to death. More than 90 others were wounded. Despite the gravity of the incident, there was no official inquiry and none of those responsible was known to have been suspended from duty, investigated or brought to trial. Two Chadian lorry-drivers were shot dead in July by a gendarme who had demanded money from them near Mora, Far-North Province. In a public letter to the Cameroonian authorities, the Chadian Government condemned the harassment and ill-treatment of Chadian nationals by security forces in Cameroon. Nigerian nationals resident in the disputed territory of the Bakassi peninsula reported harassment, beatings and killings by Cameroonian gendarmes. Although courts were reported to have continued passing death sentences, no details of sentences imposed during the year were received. There were no executions. In a report published in January, Cameroon: 1993 – Political arrests and torture continue, Amnesty International described the continuing pattern of human rights violations in Cameroon and urged action by the government to end deten-tion without trial, torture and extrajudicial executions. In February Amnesty International called for the unconditional release of Janvier Deny. Amnesty International also condemned the torture and killing of Shua Arabs, in particular the massacre at Karena, and called for those responsible to be brought to justice. A reply from the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces stated that soldiers had been convicted and sentenced to death for unlawful killings; however, this appeared to refer to killings of Shua in Kousséri in 1992 (see Amnesty International Report 1994). In March the UN Human Rights Committee deplored the many cases of illegal detention, torture, death sentences and extrajudicial execution in Cameroon. In July the UN Human Rights Committee upheld a complaint submitted by writer and former prisoner of conscience Albert Mukong that he had been arbitrarily detained from 1988 until 1989 and again in 1990 and subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

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