KONDENGUI CENTRAL PRISON : Gov’t reacts to violent protest by detainees

Monday’s rampage by detainees at the detention facility in Yaounde has been described by government as unfortunate and inadmissible

Government, through the Minister of Communication, has spoken out on the recent violent protest by detainees of the Kondengui Central Prison in Yaounde. The government spokesman, Minister René Emmanuel Sadi, in a communiqué issued Tuesday July 23, gave a vivid and panoramic narration of the unfortunate event, but said measures had been taken to put the situation under control. He said the protest was initiated by a group of well-indentified persons who have since been taken into custody for questioning. “…throughout the day of July 22, a violent action initiated by well-identified prisoners created a climate of tension within the Kondengui Central Prison in Yaounde. Initially announced to the authorities of the penitentiary institution as a gathering of persons in pre-trial detention, within the context of the security unrest perpetrated in the North West and South West Regions, and willing to present the grievances of the persons concerned to the highest authorities of the state, this movement quickly turned into a violent insurgency…,” the Minister said in his communiqué. On how the uprising soon took a violent twist, Minister Sadi narrated: “Holding spellbound, in a successive manner, the officials of the prison administration, and then the competent administrative authorities, these insurgents, joined by other detainees who came in support, and hoping to take advantage of the situation, resolved to swing straight into the violent phase of their subversive plot…” The Minister said as the situation became worse, the prison authorities called for the mobilisation of security forces who timely intervened to halt the advances of the rampaging prisoners. “The government hereby commends the professionalism, mastery and composure with which the security forces were able to put the situation under control within the prison with the use of modern methods and tools of deterrence,” the government spokesman said, adding that “…no real shot was fired during the intervention…” The Minister also gave a balance sheet of the damage caused by the incident. His words: “The first assessment of the incident reports significant material damage, including the burning of the prison’s library, the women’s sewing workshop and the office of the detainees’ discipline officer, as well as the looting of small businesses found inside the prison facility…” “It should be noted that no casualties or injuries have been reported amongst the law enforcement elements and amongst the insurgents. Meanwhile, as a result of the aggression perpetrated by the insurgents, two detainees were wounded in their penitentiary quarters. They were immediately rushed to a hospital in the city of Yaounde and are being taken care of,” the Minister clarified. He added that 177 detainees had been taken into custody for grilling with regards to the incident, which he said, government deeply regrets and condemns.

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