Cameroon arrests opposition leader who claims he won 2018 election

Maurice Kamto and several others held following protests against result of October poll

A Cameroonian opposition leader who claims he won last year’s election has been arrested.

Police held Maurice Kamto and several other opposition figures. One was pulled out of his hospital bed where he was recovering from gunshot wounds sustained at a protest against the country’s longtime president, Paul Biya.

Kamto was arrested at a supporter’s house in the economic capital, Douala, on Monday and, according to local media, was transferred to the judicial police station in the political capital, Yaoundé.

However, the prominent lawyer and activist Felix Agbor Nkongho said he had been taken to “an unknown destination”.

After he was taken away, hundreds of people surrounded the house. Police officers fired shots in the air to disperse them.

Kamto and his party, the Cameroon Renaissance Movement, claim they won the election in October, but official figures showed them taking only 14% of the vote, in second place behind Biya, 85, who has been in power for 36 years.

Since then, the opposition has organised several protests, the latest of which took place on Saturday in towns across the country and led to the arrests of 117 people. Police opened fire on protesters with live ammunition.

Turnout in October’s election was 54%, far lower than in previous polls, and it was 10% in English-speaking regions, where rebels have been fighting a bitter battle for secession since their demands for English speakers to be appointed in courts and schools were brutally suppressed by authorities.

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