Cameroon opposition leader Maurice Kamto, who said he was cheated out of the presidency in elections last year, has been charged with “rebellion” and “insurrection.”
The former government minister was arrested in the economic capital Douala on January 28 after his MRC party organised protests against October’s election result, which they say was rigged, one of his lawyers said yesterday.
The prosecutor’s office of the Yaounde military court filed the charges against Kamto, his lawyer Emmanuel Simh said. Kamto was transferred to a prison in the capital during the night.
Simh, who is also vice president of Kamto’s Movement for the Rebirth of Cameroon (MRC) party, said 28 of Kamto’s supporters were also charged.
About 100 other supporters were said to appear before the military court, which will decide whether to charge them. Kamto has said he was the rightful winner of the presidential elections, which were won by the West African country’s veteran leader Paul Biya.
Biya, 86, secured a seventh consecutive term with 71% of the vote in the polls, which the MRC slammed as an “electoral hold-up”. Kamto won 14 percent of the vote to place second, according to the official figures.
The vote was marred by violence especially in the country’s two English-speaking provinces.
Those areas have been badly hit by clashes between separatists and Cameroon troops for more than a year.
MRC supporters protested in several towns and cities on January 26 to dispute the official election result. Police broke up the demonstrations and at least six protesters were injured.
The European Union this month accused Cameroon of a “disproportionate use of force” in dispersing the protests.