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Analysts see a bleak future for Cameroon

Any hopes that oppression of the opposition in Cameroon would be eased after the swearing-in of President Paul Biya on Tuesday were dashed with the arrest of opposition leader Maurice Kamto. The arrest was announced by Kamto's lawyer Agbor Nkongho and seemed to belie the conciliatory note struck by Biya in a speech given after the swearing-in ceremony to a seventh term of office. Biya recognized "the frustrations and aspirations" of the English-speaking North-West and South-West regions, where a deadly conflict has been raging since last year. He promised "a good number of answers" and an acceleration of the "ongoing decentralization project." Is Biya about to change his policies of repression and look for solutions for conflict? "No, this is not a hopeful sign," Cameroonian analyst Tanda Theophilus from the International Crisis Group (ICG) research organization told DW. The president has acknowledged the plight of the people before; but by labelling them separatists 'terrorists' he also makes it clear that he is not willing "to dialogue with them," Theophilus said. The specter of civil war Hundreds have died in the conflict between separatists and government troops. Resentment is growing. "[The president] should ask his military to stop. He is the one that declared war against us. We expect from him is to stop the fighting and killing of our brothers and sisters," 32-year old Shoe Mende Cletus Fonyuy told DW. Fonyuy fled the English speaking north western town of Kumbo after his wife and brother were killed last month. Analysts fear the situation in the country is bound to escalate, not only in the Anglophone regions. Yondo Black, a lawyer and veteran Cameroonian activist for democracy believes that if nothing happens soon, a civil war "will be unavoidable." And that also explains why there are soldiers out in force all over the country, "as if we were in a war", although the president won the election. It shows a great unease among the ruling class, the analyst said. Circuses but no bread "We have to avoid reaching the extremes. The extreme is an insurrection. Once started, you have no way of knowing how it will end," warns lawyer Yondo Black. But people are fed up, he added, pointing to the elevated costs of the swearing-in ceremony and the money going into the preparation of the Africa Cup of nations Cameroon will be hosting in 2019 as just two examples of mismanagement. This is happening in a country where people don't have "enough money to eat or go to a doctor". "Even the Romans, who invented the policies of 'bread and circuses', put bread first," Black said. Young people are especially hard hit by the dire economic situation. 24-year old Christopher Bime who obtained a certificate in building construction, makes a living selling fruits on the streets of Yaounde. He needs a job to stop entertaining thoughts of going to Europe. "Biya has been there for 36-years and young people are suffering too much," Bime said. Crackdown on the opposition Black concurs and admits that his view of the future of the country "is very bleak." It is a view that seems to be shared by Cameroonians from all walks of life. "I don't expect anything from Biya. 36 years in power is too much," cart pusher Fridoline Amba told DW. Analyst Theophilus puts some hopes on the opposition and its capacity to grow in strength and unity during the next seven years. But talking to DW before the news of opposition leader Maurice Kamto's arrest was announced, the Cameroonian researcher said that for now he did not see any positive prospects: "The regime is used to using violence and legal threats." Theophilus said Kamto is careful to always stress that he is for a peaceful approach, which indicates his fear of being pursued. A fear the latest developments seem to justify. Hypocrisy and the international community In the past couple of days, the streets of several cities were filled with opposition supporters protesting the outcome of the elections. Scores of members of the leading opposition party Movement for the Renaissance of Cameroon (MRC) have been arrested and indicted. Lawyer Yondo Black puts part of the blame for the situation in Cameroon squarely on the shoulders of the international community, which he calls out for hypocrisy. "The fact alone that Biya has been president for 36 years should be reason enough for them to say something." But to get no reaction even when Cameroonians are dying "is unacceptable." The lawyer feels that there is enough evidence of crimes against humanity in Cameroon for making a judicial case against those responsible.

Any hopes that oppression of the opposition in Cameroon would be eased after the swearing-in of President Paul Biya on Tuesday were dashed with the arrest of opposition leader Maurice Kamto. The arrest was announced by Kamto’s lawyer Agbor Nkongho and seemed to belie the conciliatory note struck by Biya in a speech given after the swearing-in ceremony to a ... Read More »

German police detain Syrian for ‘preparing’ explosives attack

A 19-year-old Syrian has been detained on suspicion of planning to carry out a terror attack in Germany. The man was ready to carry out the attack using highly explosive materials, according to prosecutors. A Syrian man suspected of planning a terror attack was detained in the northern German city of Schwerin, the Federal Prosecutor's Office said on Tuesday in a statement. The suspect, identified as 19-year-old Yamen A., was taken into police custody. Prosecutors said in a statement that the teen is "strongly suspected of having planned an Islamist-motivated attack" that involved "highly explosive" materials. Authorities added that Yamen A. had already "concretely prepared" the attack. Read more: Preventing terrorism: What powers do German security forces have? In July this year, the suspect made the decision to detonate an explosive device in Germany "in order to kill and injure as many people as possible," the statement read. Yamen A. then began to procure components to make an explosive device, including chemicals. It was not initially clear whether the suspect had selected a location to carry out the attack, prosecutors said. They added that there are no signs that Yamen A. was connected to any terrorist organizations. German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the suspect's arrest prevented a "serious terror attack in Germany." He noted that the arrest occurred "at the right time — late enough to secure evidence and at the same time early enough to reliably avert danger." De Maizeire said that the terror threat posed by Islamic extremists in Germany and Europe remains "unchanged at a high level." Apartments searched in Hamburg and Schwerin The man's apartment as well as the apartments of others not yet suspected of involvement in planning the attack have been searched in Schwerin and the city of Hamburg. Prosecutors were set to give a press conference later on Tuesday. Read more: Masoud's list revisited — 'IS' victim turns terrorist hunter in Germany Germany was hit by several attacks in 2016, including one in December where a Tunisian man drove a stolen truck into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people. Last July, a 27-year-old Syrian refugee detonated an explosive device outside a music festival in the southern German town of Ansbach, killing himself and wounding 15 people.

A 19-year-old Syrian has been detained on suspicion of planning to carry out a terror attack in Germany. The man was ready to carry out the attack using highly explosive materials, according to prosecutors. A Syrian man suspected of planning a terror attack was detained in the northern German city of Schwerin, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office said on Tuesday in ... Read More »

German police arrest Syrian in Berlin on suspicion of terrorist links

German police have arrested ​a Syrian man in Berlin on suspicion of being a member of a foreign terrorist organization. The man was thought to be have been planning an attack on one of the capital's two airports. The suspect is believed to be a refugee from Syria. Police said the man had given his age as 27 and had been living in Germany since 2015. Security authorities suspect that the as-yet-unnamed suspect acted on behalf of the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) extremist militia. He was arrested in an apartment in the Schoeneberg district and an investigation has begun. Police referred journalists to Germany's federal prosecutors for further information. Federal prosecutors, who handle most terrorism-related cases, did not name the man but said he is suspected of belonging to the IS group. Berlin police tweeted approximately 40 minutes after the arrest: "Our state police forces #LKA have just arrested a man suspected of being a member of a foreign terrorist organization." According to the newspaper "Berliner Zeitung," the Syrian was arrested at about 9 p.m. local time (UTC 20.00). His apartment was also searched, police said. Authorities have until the end of Thursday to bring him before a judge for a decision on whether they can continue holding him. In October authorities detained a man in connection to a Syrian refugee suspected of planning a bombing attack in Germany after police discovered "several hundred grams" of explosive materials at the suspect's residence. The man took his own life in a Leipzig jail.

German police have arrested ​a Syrian man in Berlin on suspicion of being a member of a foreign terrorist organization. The man was thought to be have been planning an attack on one of the capital’s two airports. The suspect is believed to be a refugee from Syria. Police said the man had given his age as 27 and had ... Read More »

Belgian authorities raid home in connection with Paris attacks

Belgian police have searched a home in the country's capital and made at least one arrest. The raid was reportedly carried out in connection with the terrorist attacks in Paris last month. Belgian authorities continued their ongoing probe into homegrown terrorist cells in connection with last month's attack in Paris, as they searched a house in the troubled Molenbeek neighborhood of Brussels on Sunday. At least one person was detained following the raid, which reportedly lasted around five hours. The AFP news agency reported that two arrests were made. A spokesperson for the federal prosecutor did not give specific details as to who or why the suspects were taken into custody, although he did say that Salah Abdeslam, a top fugitive wanted in connection with the Paris attacks, was not one of them. The spokesperson went on to say that an official statement would be released on Monday once there was more information. Belgian authorities have been carrying out raids across the country since the November 13 attacks that left 130 people dead. Several of the suspects- including the attackers' ringleader, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, had lived in the Brussels district of Molenbeek. The AFP news agency also said it had confirmed a report in the French daily newspaper Le Parisien, which said Abdeslam had passed three police checks in France as he fled to Belgium after the Paris attacks. Hamza Attou - who with another man, Mohammed Amri, is suspected of driving Abdeslam to Brussels - was quoted as saying he had been threatened. "He told us to take him back to Brussels or he would blow up the car," Attou said, according to the source. At the third checkpoint, the report said, the three were asked for their papers and Abdeslam even gave police his address in Molenbeek.

Belgian police have searched a home in the country’s capital and made at least one arrest. The raid was reportedly carried out in connection with the terrorist attacks in Paris last month. Belgian authorities continued their ongoing probe into homegrown terrorist cells in connection with last month’s attack in Paris, as they searched a house in the troubled Molenbeek neighborhood ... Read More »

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