U.N. Commission on Human Rights, Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/1994/31 (1994)(Nigel Rodley, Special Rapporteur).


Information transmitted to the Government

69. On 10 June 1993 the Special Rapporteur advised the Government that he had received information according to which although the Penal Code proscribed torture, rendered inadmissible in court evidence obtained thereby and prohibited public servants from using force against any person, the security forces continued to inflict severe beatings and other ill-treatment on detainees. Methods of torture included beating on the soles of the feet with an iron bar or whipping with a reinforced rubber tube. Treatment of prisoners in the penitentiary system was poor, especially outside of major urban areas. Prisoners were routinely chained in their cells and received inadequate medical attention and food. At Tchollire II prison these conditions reportedly caused at least 40 deaths among the inmates between 1990 and 1992.

70. Sanctions against those responsible were reportedly unknown, although government officials maintained that they faced administrative punishments which were not made public. Investigations were rare because abused persons frequently feared reprisals against themselves and their families if they lodged a complaint.

71. According to the reports, abuses worsened in North West Province following the imposition of a two-month-long state of emergency on 27 October 1992. Several hundred people were reportedly arrested in Bamenda and severely beaten at the headquarters of the Brigade mixte mobile (BMM) or the Gendarmerie Legion. The individual cases described in the following paragraphs were transmitted to the Government.

72. Ghandi Che Ngawa was reportedly arrested on 9 November at his Bamenda office and taken to the BMM, where he was allegedly suspended by his arms and legs from an iron bar and severely beaten. Four days later he was transferred to the Military Hospital, apparently with a swollen and bruised body and with some of his toenails missing. He died a week later from his injuries. Five other detainees were also transferred to the Military Hospital at the same time as Ghandi Che Ngawa. They had reportedly been beaten daily at the BMM and given electric shocks.

73. Rose Ngo Sona, a nursing mother, was stripped naked and severely beaten by a group of soldiers who broke into her house in Bamenda on 28 October in order to arrest her brother, Barrister Sendze.

74. Disturbances also took place in the South West Province in October 1992. According to reports, in Kumbha town, Meme division, gangs tolerated by the authorities captured a number of people and subjected them to torture. Among them were the following.

75. Ikaabo Christopher Ambaisah was captured on 13 October and taken to the District Office where he was allegedly severely beaten with iron rods and rough wooden canes before being released the same day.

76. Ruben Tarh was captured on 22 October and severely beaten with electric cables and boards with nails. His captors allegedly melted rubber in fire and let the hot fluid drop on his back. They also tied him head down and, in this position, beat him with cables before leaving him hanging for one hour.

77. Thomas Mbah was summoned on 22 October by two plainclothes and three uniformed soldiers to Chief Mukete's compound for interrogation. Once there he was allegedly given 25 strokes of the cane, burnt with a hot iron rod on in several parts of the body and injured with a sword on the left shoulder.

78. In Bandja village, West Province, the following persons were arrested on 5 November 1992 by members of a paramilitary group: Emmanuel Kameni Mouaffa, Joseph Fankam, Raphel Lieji, Michel Tankeu, Blaise Tseussie, Bernard Ngaoum, Engolbert Wamboyi, Pierre Kameni and Michel Tankeu. They were all reportedly beaten with clubs, belts, batons and gun butts at the time of arrest.

79. There were also reports of a series of disturbances in Ndu, North West Province, in June 1992, in the course of which a number of citizens, including women and children, were severely beaten and subjected to sexual abuse, as in the case of Biena Mary Kimbi, publicity secretary of the Donga/Mantung South (Ndu) electoral district of the Social Democratic Front. She was arrested by six members of the police (gendarmes) on 6 June 1992 and taken to the Gendarmerie Brigade headquarters in Ndu, where she was reportedly stripped, beaten and sexually assaulted, then held for four days without food or water. On about 12 June she was transferred to the Gendarmerie Brigade headquarters in the nearby town of Nkambe, where she remained in incommunicado detention, denied all contact with family or lawyer. On 19 June she was taken to the Gendarmerie Company headquarters in Nkambe, where she and another woman detainee were reportedly whipped with belts, after which she was unable to walk. She was held in detention for 31 days.

80. The three cases mentioned below were also communicated to the Government.

81. Sévérin Tchounkeu, publisher of the French language weekly La nouvelle expression and Tsapi, a cartoonist for the Challenge Hebdo weekly were arrested by the police in Douala on 2 November 1992. The two were reportedly beaten at the time of arrest and Mr. Tchounkeu required hospital attention for multiple fractures.

82. Ange Tokam Guiadem, a student leader, was reportedly arrested on 5 May 1992 by approximately 12 gendarmes at Yaoundé University. They allegedly stripped and marched her across campus, punching and kicking her.

Other students who tried to intervene were beaten off by the gendarmes. Ms. Guiadem was taken to a garage where gendarmes allegedly continued to beat and taunt her for two days and shaved her head with shards of broken glass. She was subsequently moved to the gendarme detention facility where she was kept until her release, without charge, on 11 May 1992.

Information received from the Government with respect to cases included in previous reports

83. On 2 March and 12 August 1993 the Government forwarded information on the case of Hameni Bieuleu, arrested on 5 November 1992, on behalf of whom the Special Rapporteur had made an urgent appeal on 2 December 1992. According to the Government, Hameni Bieuleu was, until his release on 28 December 1992, detained on the premises of the national gendarmerie in Yaoundé, and later in Bamenda, in strict observance of the code on pre-trial proceedings governing criminal procedure in Cameroon. Contrary to the reported allegations, he was never subjected to any ill-treatment, nor was he deprived of medical care. Indeed, the day after his arrest, his family, with Dr. Nouedoui of the Yaoundé General Hospital, were authorized at their request to visit him and take him the food they wanted (a letter addressed to the Minister of Defence by Dr. Nouedoui advising that Hameni Bieuleu should be taken to hospital was attached). After two expert tests in Yaoundé and in Bamenda, earlier clinical examinations certifying that Mr. Bieuleu was a diabetic proved false. According to the findings published by the National Human Rights and Freedoms Committee, after interviews with Mr. Bieuleu during his detention, he had never complained of ill-treatment.

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