BY LUSY LIMA
The Cameroon government has vowed to hunt down and prosecute leaders of major strike actions that have rocked the country within the last two years as a way of deterring others from ever standing up against the state. The country has since 2006 been plagued by sporadic strike actions with the most prominent ones being the November 27, 2006 University of Buea strike action against the alleged manipulationof results of entrance examination into the institution’s medical school and the February 2008 strike action against hike in fuel prices, poor working conditions and the unlimited extension of presidential mandate.
With the instability and havoc which these strike actions brought to the state, the ring leaders have been arrested and placed under dehumanising conditions in different detention centres across Cameroon with trumped up charges levied against them, while many are reportedly on the run. A warrant of arrest has been issued against most of those on the run.
One of the most wanted strike leaders, more or less trapped in both the November 2006 university and February 2008 nation-wide strike actions is Ghang Jude Thaddeus.
Reports say after the 2006 University of Buea strike action, the then final year Law student, who was also Public Relation Officer of the University Students Representative Council, was arrested and detained in inhumane conditions at the Buea Central Prison alongside other leaders of the strike action. They were only released several weeks after the intervention of human right organisations.
In February 2008, Ghang Jude mobilized youths in Buea who took park in the non-violent strike action against poor working condition, extension of presidential mandate and increase in fuel prices that turned violent, The SUN gathered. Reports have it that shortly after the Head of State, Paul Biya, in a televised nationwide address, promised to hunt down and prosecute all those who spearheaded the strike action, the military swung into action arresting and detaining leaders of the strike action.
According to credible family sources, warrant of arrest was issued against Ghang Jude, who fled to Nigeria, and since then, his where about remains a speculation.
Observers have interpreted the recent move by the government to prosecute strike action leaders as a mechanism to deter Cameroonians from speaking out or every protesting again. Human right organisations have widely criticised the Cameroon government for its track record of violent suppression of strike actions and uprisings, which are mostly characterised by gross human right violation.