Joseph Mbah Ndam, Member of Parliament for the SDF party has decried the inhuman conditions of Anglophones at the Kondengui prison in Yaounde where an epidemic is killing 10 inmates daily
While granting an interview over the BBC on March 1, shortly after visiting the detainees, the SDF MP said he was appalled by the deplorable conditions most Anglophone detainees are subjected to. He revealed that most of them sleep on the ground while others who got wounded in the process of arrest are not being treated.
Mbah Ndam said at least 10 persons die every day. “I was told there is an epidemic in the place, causing the deaths”. The MP regretted that government is not doing much to ameliorate the conditions of detainees and its overcrowded prisons. He wondered why most people arrested in Anglophone Cameroon are always ferried to Yaounde. The MP however called on Cameroonians and people of goodwill to keep their differences aside and work on strategies geared towards ameliorating detainees condition.
Refuting Mbah Ndam’s claims, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, government spokesman who doubles as communication minister, said the SDF MP assertions are completely wrong. Tchiroma described the claims as slanderous stating that it does represent Cameroon in any way. The government spokesman in his usual style defended the government by stating that rights of prisoners in Cameroon are respected. “They have a right to receive their lawyers, they have the right to receive their families”.
Presently, Cameroon has approximately 26, 702 prisoners for an initial capacity of 17000 inmates. Recent studies on the country’s prison conditions reveal that many prisoners have been left helpless with most of them lacking where to sleep due to overcrowding in the central, principal and secondary prisons. Going by the 2015 prison conditions report from the National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms, NCHRF, inadequate feeding, poor sanitation and little access to adequate health care facilities are some of the familiarities that run across all prisons in the country. According to the report, inmates in most central and secondary prisons have just one meal a day costing F CFA 150. The report also reveals that many of these inmates are forced to kneel with bare skin on the rough ground and walk on their knees. This, the report states, is considered punishment for minor offenses of prison regulations, such as quarreling.