US customs seize ancient stone carvings from Cameroon
BBC World Service
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US customs officials at Miami international airport say they have seized several ancient stone carvings illegally exported to America from Cameroon using fake documents.
Cultural experts say the phallus shaped sculptures - known as Ikom monoliths - were made between 200 and 1,000 AD near the town of Ikom in the Cross River State area of Nigeria, bordering Cameroon.
They are each uniquely decorated with geometric patterns of human facial features and undeciphered inscriptions, which linguists believe is a prehistoric form of writing and visual communication.
US border officials say the stones will be returned to Cameroon.
Cameroon postpones controversial phone tax
BBC News, Yaoundé
President Paul Biya has
ordered Cameroon’s Prime Minister Joseph Ngute to postpone the implementation of a
controversial phone tax and instead propose a better way of collecting it.
The tax that should have gone
into effect on 15 October requires phone buyers to pay a 33% tax, if the importer
never paid customs dues.
The tax was supposed to be
collected from phone users through digital means. But in a note to the prime minister, the secretary general at the presidency - Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh - has underscored
the need to put it on hold.
The note requires Mr Ngute to come up with more appropriate means of collecting the tax.
Critics said it was
inappropriate to allow importers to evade taxes, and instead heap the burden on
US has 'blood on its hands' over deportations
BBC Focus on Africa radio
Campaigners in the US have accused the government there of "mass human rights violations" adding that it has "blood on its hands" after 88 people were deported to Cameroon.
Sofia Casini, the director of Visitation Advocacy Strategies, has called for the deportations to be investigated.
Many of those who were flown to Cameroon had sought safety in the US after fleeing their home country due to the violence in the English-speaking part of the country.
After applying for asylum they were held in detention by the US authorities.
One man described his journey to the US through the Panama forest in Central America and how he had hoped that the US would live up to its reputation as a protector of human rights.
But the deportees complained that they were violently mistreated.
In a letter to BBC Focus on Africa, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that it did not comment on on-going operations but "in general, sensationalist unsubstantiated allegations are irresponsible, and should be treated with the greatest of scepticism”.
Listen to the Focus on Africa interview with Sofia Casini:
Campaigners urge Cameroonians to boycott phone tax
BBC News, Yaoundé
Consumer rights campaigners in Cameroon have called on citizens to boycott a tax on mobile phones and tablets which the government is due to introduce on Thursday.
The tax requires customers to pay 33% of the cost of each phone they buy if the importer did not pay the corresponding customs dues.
is a controversial decision that has sparked condemnation by consumer associations who are calling on the government to force importers to pay the tax instead of consumers.
The president of the National League of Cameroonian Consumers, Delor Magellan Kamgain, has called on consumers to boycott the tax.
“The Cameroon government did not respect the procedures for implementing this decision. The government also did not carry out campaigns to inform consumers,” he said.
But the minister of telecommunications Minette Libom Li Keng insists it is not a new tax, but just a
change in the manner in which it is paid.
From Cameroon to Harvard: One man's journey of hope
A Cameroonian health researcher whose tweet on rise from his village to Harvard University went viral has spoken about his success story.
Dr Desmond Jumbam tweeted a photo of a simple shack of a house next to a Harvard University badge.
Dr Jumbam said he had always wanted to get good education and return to Cameroon to serve his people.
"I work with an NGO called Operation Smile that provides free cleft lip surgery and care to children in over 30 countries," he said.
His father was killed in the Anglophone separatists crisis and together with his mother they are running a support group for women who have been widowed by the crisis.
His success story from Cameroon to Harvard has inspired many.
"I think people were inspired by it, I think its a story of hope and inspiration especially during this current global pandemic and global political situation," he said.
Here is Dr Jumbam's full interview on Newsday:
Cameroonian's surprise at response on Social Media
Desmond Jumbam has over 2 million likes on Twitter after posting about his life.
UN rights experts calls for Kamto's release
BBC News, Yaoundé
A group of UN human rights experts has called on the Cameroon government to
release detained opposition leader, Maurice Kamto, as well as hundreds of his supporters
who were arrested following nationwide protests on 22 September.
Mr Kamto has been held under house arrest for three weeks now.
The military surrounded his home after he called for countrywide protests to force President Paul Biya, in power now for 38 years, to resign.
About 500 of Mr Kamto’s supporters were also arrested, and more than 200 of them are still in custody.
The 14 independent UN experts have also called for an impartial investigation into alleged human rights violations by the Cameroon government.
The police declined the BBC’s request for comment.
The government’s spokesman, Emmanuel Sadi, and his colleague of Territorial
Administration, Paul Atanga Nji, had earlier threatened to ban Mr Kamto’s party,
Cameroon Renaissance Movement, as well as take up legal action against the
Cameroon minister's phone hacked
Cameroon's Mining Minister Gabriel Dodo Ndoké has said that hackers have taken over his phone number.
The minister warned all his contacts not to respond to any financial requests coming from his number.
Mr Ndoké said the authorities were working to recover the number.
Ministers in Cameroon are often targets for hackers and scammers who create fake social media accounts using their names to con people, according to Journal du Cameroun.
Schools in anglophone Cameroon to reopen after three years
Separatists have enforced a boycott of schools in the English speaking region
Schools re-open in Cameroon
Schools in Cameroon are re-opening with students expected to learn in shifts in overcrowded schools so as to ensure social distancing.
Some students will learn in the morning while others will report to school in the afternoon.
Only primary and secondary school students are expected to resume on Monday with universities set to reopen on 15 October.
The government has released guidelines to be followed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
All students except those in classes one to three and expected to wear masks.
Handwashing points are to be provided around the school premises.
Schools closed in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Final year students returned to sit for their examinations, but those in Anglophone regions have been experiencing difficulties because of the separatist rebellion.
Streets quiet on 'Ambazonia independence day'
BBC News, Yaoundé
Today, Thursday, marks three years since separatist fighters in Cameroon tried to declare the
independence of the Anglophone regions and said they were creating Ambazonia.
But unlike previous years, when the separatists would hoist flags and sing the anthem to the
putative state to mark their independence day, the streets of the main cities in the English-speaking regions were largely deserted.
The Cameroon army said that there had been no reports of separatist activity recorded
across the region.
same calm atmosphere has been reported in the country’s South West region,
except for the rural community of Alo’o. A video circulating on social
media from Alo’o shows suspected separatist fighters marching and waving flags, under the
command of a certain General Ayeke.
his prison cell in the capital, Yaounde, separatist leader Sisiku
Ayuk Tabe has tweeted that no square inch of Ambazonian territory will be
ceded, and warned that either the independence of the territory is restored, or
the resistance will continue forever.
teachers and lawyers strikes in 2016 morphed into political demands, with many
English speakers asking for outright independence.
responded with lethal force and then a violent uprising began.
ensuing fighting between separatists and government soldiers has so far led to
the deaths of at least 3,000 people and forced over a million to flee their
homes, according to the United Nations
Cameroon probes Kamto for 'plan to trigger insurrection'
BBC News, Yaoundé
Police in Cameroon are expected to begin an investigation into allegations that opposition
leader Maurice Kamto wanted to cause an insurrection in
the central African country, one of the politician's lawyers has told the BBC.
“A group of Mr Kamto’s lawyers went to the National Delegation of Public
Security and to the National Gendarmerie to find out why he is being held under
"We were told that an investigation will be opened on him in the
coming days on grounds that he tried to cause an insurrection,” said Barrister
A spokesperson for the police declined a BBC request for comment.
Mr Kamto had called for peaceful protests on 22 September to push for
electoral reforms, a resolution of the ongoing crisis in the Anglophone regions, and the resignation of long-time President Paul
But he could not lead the march because the security services put him under house
arrest, and he has since not been allowed out of his home.
Mr Ndong says that 600 supporters of Mr Kamto’s Cameroon Renaissance Movement
were arrested, but the BBC has not been able to independently verify the figure.
Cameroon's rival parties gear up for live TV debate
BBC News, Yaoundé
Cameroon's main opposition party has accepted a challenge to debate with the ruling RDPC/CPDM live on TV, days after it organised anti-government protests in several towns and cities that were met with a crackdown.
"Figures against figures, facts against facts, strategy against strategy, and vision against vision," pledged ruling party communication secretary Jacques Fame Ndongo in a press release.
"Debate is the strength of ideas and the strength of arguments. The street is provocation," he added.
The opposition MRC/CRM's leader Maurice Kamto is still under house arrest following Tuesday's protests.
One of his deputies, Barrister Christopher Ndong, has told the BBC they "welcome the debate" as a "fundamental democratic principle".
The main opposition party says 593 people were arrested as a result of the protests, and has said one person was killed and others were wounded. This has not been independently verified.
However reports indicate that several journalists covering the events were arrested. Some protesters in the economic hub of Douala were also shot at, and security forces used tear gas and water cannon.
The police has declined the BBC’s requests for comment.
Mr Kamto called for protests to force President Paul Biya, in power for 38 years, out of office.
Demonstrators were also demanding changes to the electoral code and the resolution of the Anglophone crisis.
A top official of Cameroon's opposition CRM party has said that a number of anti-government demonstrators have been targeted by security forces in the biggest city, Douala.
"Peaceful protesters have
been shot at, arrested, brutalised and tear-gassed," said Barrister
Christopher Ndong, the first vice-president of the party.
A journalist working for private-owned newspaper La Nouvelle Expression was among those arrested in the capital, Yaoundé. Unverified reports suggest that dozens of CRM activists were arrested there on Tuesday morning.
The police have not responded to the BBC's request for comment.
Anti-government demonstrators have taken to the
streets in several towns and cities, including Douala, Yaounde, Bafang, and Baham - the hometown of CRM leader Maurice Kamto, in the west of the country.
They have been calling for an
end to the Anglophone crisis and a reform of the electoral code.
Mr Kamto has suggested if the two issues are not addressed, the protests will continue
until President Paul Biya is forced from power.
Mr Biya has been in power since 1982. He was
re-elected in 2018 in an election that Mr Kamto claimed he won.
Government spokesman Rene
Emmanuel Sadi has criticised the opposition leader, saying that the protests were the
weapon of a politician who cannot win an election.
Tear gas fired at Cameroon protesters
Multiple reports indicate that tear gas has been fired at people taking part in opposition protests in Cameroon's biggest city, Douala.
Reporter Regina Sondo shared this footage minutes ago:
A nationwide call for anti-government protests was made by the MRC/CRM party.
But a heavy security presence has been reported in recent days and the government is accused by Human Rights Watch and other groups of cracking down on dissent.
Rights group condemns Cameroon protest crackdown
Campaign group Human Rights Watch has accused the Cameroonian government of using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to "quell the right to assemble" ahead of protests planned for Tuesday.
The opposition MRC/CRM party, whose leader Maurice Kamto maintains he was the rightful winner of the 2018 presidential election, is calling for institutional reforms and the return of peace to the country's troubled Anglophone regions.
But on Friday, days ahead of the planned demonstrations, security officers forcibly searched vehicles at busy road junctions in the capital Yaoundé.
The health minister also called for a "ban" on "all protests" in favour of social distancing and other "live-saving measures".
The next day, HRW says, the headquarters of the opposition CPP party were surrounded by over 30 policemen and gendarmes who left after an hour's stand-off.
Despite the call to protest, residents of the two biggest cities, Douala and Yaoundé, say many people are staying at home.