Cameroon: President Biya's Bodyguards Guilty of Attacking Swiss Reporter

President Paul Biya (file photo).
5 July 2019

Cape Town — Six members, five men and a woman, of President Paul Biya's security team were arrested in Geneva for an alleged assault on a journalist who was covering a demonstration by opponents of the Cameroonian leader.

The woman was released as she held a diplomatic passport.

According to Associated Press, "the incident took place as the journalist was covering demonstrators who had gathered at the Intercontinental Hotel, a favoured venue for high-level officials in Geneva, where Biya was staying". The Radio Télévision Suisse journalist was slightly injured and his equipment damaged.

At least 250 people were demonstrating against the presence of Biya at the hotel. The protesters were waving Cameroonian flags and anti-Biya placards and posters. Swiss police had to use force to disperse the crowd.

Geneva prosecutors found the men "guilty of coercion, damage to property, and illegal appropriation" and received suspended sentences of at least three months. They were immediately released.

The 86-year-old is one of Africa's longest-serving presidents. President Paul Biya has been in power for more than 36 years and not ready to step down. He won another seven-year term in 2018.

The country is plagued by multiple tensions.

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