Amnesty International on Friday accused Cameroon of detaining no fewer than 500 people “like sardines” in overcrowded detention facilities following mass arbitrary arrests in two English-speaking regions.
The human rights watchdog said in a statement that the detainees were arrested when protesting in dozens of towns in Cameroon’s Anglophone North-West and South-West regions on October 1.
English speakers in the West African nation have long complained that they are treated like second-class citizens and that the government makes less money available to them.
Amnesty alleged that the West African nation’s security forces, who killed more than 20 demonstrators that day, had used unnecessary or excessive force when making arrests, and most arrests were carried out without warrants.
According to Amnesty, many people who were injured during the protests were too scared of the security forces to seek medical treatment.
“This mass arrest of protesters, most of whom were acting peacefully, is not only a violation of human rights, but is also likely to be counter-productive,” said Amnesty researcher Ilaria Allegrozzi.