Writers call for release of Cameroonian author Patrice Nganang
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 — published an opinion piece in French on Tuesday 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 the Northwest and Southwest Regions — Cameroon’s two English-speaking areas — 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.