mercredi 9 novembre 2011

Interview pour le magazine "The Epoch Times": L'émergence d'une nouvelle classe politique malgré la victoire de Paul Biya

Interviewée pour le journal international { The Epoch Times } sur les élections au Cameroun, j'explique que « l' élection de 2011 est considérée par les camerounais comme un tournant à partir duquel le Cameroun pourra construire une meilleure opposition et une société civile plus efficace, et à partir duquel plus de citoyens s'engageront à apporter une alternative au régime de Biya. » Je parle aussi du rôle accru joué par les réseaux sociaux utilisés par de plus en de camerounais sur place ou par ceux de la diaspora.

Retrouvez l'article publié sur le site du magazine ici.

mardi 8 novembre 2011

[VIDEO] Julie Owono interviewed by Vox Africa: What comes next for Cameroon?

On November 4, 2011 I was interviewed by Panafrican TV channel Vox Africa  on the challenges Cameroon will have to face during Paul Biya's 6th term. Here is my take on the necessity for the country to reorganise the political scene:

vendredi 14 octobre 2011

Cameroon: Diaspora Fail to Participate in Elections

Post originally Published on the Global Voices Online Special Coverage Page on Cameroon Election 2011. Also available in French.

Seven million Cameroonian voters were called to elect their next president on October 9, 2011. However, the question of the abstention seems to be the great winner of this ballot, in particular that of Cameroonians living abroad.

This year's election was significant for the reason that since August 8, 2011, [fr] Cameroonian citizens in the diaspora were allowed to vote for the first time.
Cameroonian Voters in Dakar.
Photo G. Esunge Fominyen on (CC).
The Cameroonian population living abroad is estimated at between 2.5 million [fr] and 4 million people [fr]. According to an article published on [fr], this number varies because of administrative reasons:
Dans une récente interview, le Minitre des relations extérieures, Henri Eyebe Ayissi, expliquait que « d'une part, la carte consulaire du Cameroun ne couvre pas tous les pays d'émigration. D'autre part, même dans les pays pourvus de postes consulaires, la situation est très contrastée. D'une manière générale, nos compatriotes de la diaspora ne se font pas systématiquement enregistrer auprès des services consulaires. Outre une certaine indifférence, l'explication réside, soit dans l'ignorance de cette formalité, soit dans le fait que ceux qui se trouvent en situation irrégulière hésitent à sortir de l'anonymat.»
In a recent interview, the Minister of External Relations, Henri Eyebe Ayissi, explained that "on the one hand, the Cameroonian consulary card does not cover all countries of emigration. On the other hand, even in countries provided with consulates, the situation is very contrasted. Generally, our fellow citizens from the diaspora don't systematically register themselves with consulate services. In addition to a certain indifference, the explanation resides in the ignorance of such a  formality, or in the fact that those who live abroad in an irregular situations hesitate over renouncing their anonymity."

The decision to allow Cameroonians from the Diaspora to vote might be related to economic reasons. According to a 2011 World Bank report, Diaspora For Development in Africa, the potential savings of Cameroonian migrants within Cameroon is equivalent to 3.8 % of the GDP. Moreover, bank and other informal money transfers are estimated between 9 and 24 % of the GDP.
A financial manna perceived by every Cameroonians. Hotmongo ironically commented on this subject on Twitter :
La participation de la diaspora a l'économie c'est western union. LOL
The participation of the diaspora in the economy is Western Union. LOL

According to the Cameroonian Electoral Commission (ELECAM), 25,578 Cameroonians abroad registered on the voter list. At the time of the adoption of the voting decree, website [fr] published an article in which the author already doubted ELECAM's ability to register the estimated 2.5 million voters abroad :
Une opération dont on doute de sa réalisabilité, à deux mois de la date de l’élection présidentielle.
One can doubt of the feasibility of the operation, two months from the presidential election.

In fact, the presidential decree was signed on August, 8, 2011, and the deadline for voter registration was on August 31, 2011. Short delays added to a call from diaspora to boycott the election might have led to this result.

The CODE (an association gathering democratic and patriotic organisations of the Cameroonian diaspora - Collectif des Organisations Démocratiques et Patriotiques de la Diaspora Camerounaise) led the boycott movement. On its blog [fr], the organisation explains:
- [Nous] Réaffirmons notre farouche opposition à la mascarade électorale qui se déroule
actuellement au Cameroun et en diaspora ;
- Dénonçons par conséquent la poursuite d’un processus électoral mafieux, totalement
illégitime, et qui n’a pour but que de maintenir Paul Biya au pouvoir pour le grand
malheur du peuple camerounais.
- [We] reaffirm our staunch opposition to the electoral masquerade which is currently going on in Cameroon and in the diaspora;
- We therefore denounce the mafia electoral process as totally illigetimate, which only aims at maitaining Paul Biya in power for the great misfortune of the Cameroonian people.

In the following video posted on YouTube by Seumoprisma on October 8, members of the CODE in Belgium demonstrate to reminded Cameroonians in the diaspora that they must not vote on October 9 and instead call for Paul Biya to step down:


According to an article by the daily newspaper Le Jour, published on 237online [fr], among the 40,000 Cameroonians counted in France, only 900 went to vote. Paul Biya, the outgoing president, got 64.97% of the popular vote.

Ebot Tabi comments on Twitter:
If you look at the number registered and compared to the number of voters, you see that only the Biya people did vote

mardi 29 mars 2011

Human Rights campaigns and disturbing shortcuts: Amnesty International Case

Wandering on my Facebook Friends photo albums, I fell on this:

It is a 2010 Human Rights campaign by Amnesty International New Zealand, and I must say that It puzzled me.

I think the work of such an organisation remains important, but here I think the NGO made a marketing mistake.

To contextualize, let us remember what Amnesty International is about.
According to the wikipedia page, Amnesty was created in July 1961 after the founder Peter Benenson published an article "Forgotten prisoners" in which he denounced violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights perpetrated by Governments. The Wikipedia article further reminds the role played by the organisation in pressures on South African Apartheid Government in the early 1990s to investigate into allegations of police abuse.

Despite this incredible History and contribution, the Human Rights activist that I am feels uncomfortable with the "Ignore Us" Campaign.

As you can see, the three different scenes show at the center people who seem to be from the former "third world", usually a man committing violence on another Humanbeing. And surrounding them, people from the so called Western World, mainly caucasian type persons, who are turning their backs on the violent scene. The "uncolored" aspect of the crowd is more evident on the foreground.
And that is exactly what first struck me : The population in the Western World is mixed, composed of Afro-Europeans, Asian-Americans, or South-American Australians who can afford to give funds to Amnesty International. I did not understand why the only people targeted because they ignore human rights violations in the world were the Caucasian Westerners. Nathalie, author of an article published on the site non-profit communication, gave an aspect of the answer: She explains that the campaign was made by Amnesty International New Zealand, and thus the local section of the organisation decided to target the type of population you can find in the country ie:
78% European/Other, 14.6% Māori, 9.2% Asian, 6.9% Pacific peoples.
About 74.5% of the population is classified as New Zealand European; 9.7% Maori; 4.6% are considered other European; 3.8% Pacific Islander; and 7.4% Asian and others.

Another element that cought my eyes of African Woman living in a western country is the fact that at the centre of each scene, the people perpetrating the violences are "Third-World" type : African or Asian from the Middle-East. To me, this tends to suggest that Human Rights violations are commonly committed in "Southern" Areas of the world.
This led me to investigate a bit more on the countries mostly covered by Amnesty and I found this report by James Ron, Howard Ramos and Kathleen Rodgers, "Transnational Information Politics: NGO Human Rights Reporting, 1986–2000" which discusses the elements which push an International NGO like Amnesty International to cover a part of the world more than another:

What shapes the transnational activist agenda? Do NGOs with a global mandate focus on the world's most pressing problems or is their reporting also affected by additional considerations?

I particularly was interested by one of the tables which shows Amnesty's 10 top target countries between 1986 and 2000 in the organisation's publications. And surprisingly enough, there is only one African Country in the List, Rwanda, for which 64 press releases were published, ie 2% of the Total number of Press releases:

It is true that the "Greatest" violations, if you consider there is a scale for this, are committed in the South, nevertheless I feel like the message of this campaign does not show that Human Rights violations are unfortunately also a reality in the Northern part of the World, and non Caucasian populations of these countries ignore that rights of some of their fellow-citizens are violated.

Marketing reasonning should remain intellectually honest, and not elude reality, especially when it comes to such sensitive issue; otherwise the credibility can be lost and the audience might be diverted from a powerful and thougthful message, which is in our particular case : Human Rights are violated while we are not paying attention.

Amnesty International New Zealand's campaign is what I consider a counterproductive marketing coup: in fact it gives food for thought to "Thirld World" populists who present NGOs as organisations serving interests of Western Powers, and it contributes to discredit the necessary action of such organisation in certain areas of the World.

But all this was probably a calculated faux-pas: thanks to a coincidence of the calendar, Columbia Journalism Review published on its website an article, "Hiding the Real Africa, Why NGOs prefer bad news", which explains why NGOs have more interest to show an Africa torn by Wars and Tribal slaughters, rather than giving images of a healthy and growing continent. And to sum up the idea, the poorer Africa is, the richer these NGOs and other International Organisations become:

These organizations understandably tend to focus not on what has been accomplished but on convincing people how much remains to be done. As a practical matter, they also need to attract funding.

lundi 21 mars 2011

Côte d'Ivoire: When Ethnic Hate Shadows Politics

While Witnessing the current escalation of violence and hatred in Côte d'Ivoire, and with the publication of the Human Rights Watch report on 'Crimes againts Humanity perpetrated by Laurent Gbagbo's forces', I decided to write the following piece for Global Voices Online. As a human, it is my responsibility to witness and denounce those violences, especially at a time when more and more Observers and International Journalists are comparing the situation in Côte d'Ivoire to the "Pre-Genocide" atmosphere of Rwanda in 1994.

On the morning of Sunday March 13, 2011, a young merchant from the north of Côte d'Ivoire was visiting his relatives in the economic capital, Abidjan, on the south coast. The amulets he wore around his neck were characteristic clothing of the Dioulas, an ethnic group from the north of the country.

Sadly, these talismans lost him his life. According to a gang of youths, all supporters of Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, they were fatal evidence that he belonged to an opposition "army of rebels". They tortured and stoned him to death. The incident took place in Yopougon, a district of Abidjan, and was filmed. The video was posted by YouTube user AfricaWeWish on March 15.

On the video you can see a crowd gathered around the young man on the ground. He has been covered in tree branches. After hearing that the man is from a Northern city of Côte d'Ivoire, people start throwing bricks at his face. An Ivorian blogger has confirmed that the man killed in the video was from the north.

At 00:44 minutes the assailant asks, "You were just passing by? Where did you come from?". The man on the ground replies at 00:55 minutes, "I'm a trader in Séguéla (in the north of the country)" and at 01:20 minutes they start throwing stones at him. This corresponds with the version of the story shared on the Twitter hashtag #civ2010. This is the link to the video, but please be warned these are extremely graphic images.

A city divided

Abobo and Yopougon are two districts in Abidjan, the economic capital city of Côte d'Ivoire. One of West Africa's largest urban centres, it is a city divided.

[caption id="attachment_208537" align="alignright" width="275" caption="Map of Abidjan showing Abobo to the north and Yopougon to the south"]Map of Abidjan showing Abobo and Yopougon[/caption]Abobo has around 1.5 million residents and is mainly a Muslim district. As a result, it is a natural electoral base for supporters of Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognised president after the December 2010 election who is from the Muslim north.

Yopougon meanwhile, with around 1.1 million residents, is the city's stronghold of Laurent Gbagbo supporters. Gbagbo, president since 2000, is widely believed to have been defeated by Ouattara in the public vote, but so far has refused to stand down despite international pressure. Since the election, violent clashes have been reported between supporters from both sides.

In both districts, different religious and ethnic groups had mixed peacefully until the beginning of the recent Ivorian political crisis. For the last ten days however, both Abobo and Yopougon have witnessed incidents of ethnically motivated violence, further crystallising the political dispute and the threat of civil war.

Since February 25, 2011, around 20-30,000 people have fled Abobo; on February 23, dozens of soldiers [fr] from Gbagbo's Security and Defense Forces were killed in the district by pro-Ouattara 'Invisible Commando' forces. YouTube user posted this video of people fleeing Abobo on February 27, 2011:


Théophile Kouamouo explains the background to the violence in an article [fr] on website Jeune Afrique:
On y trouve un cocktail politiquement explosif : une forte concentration de populations musulmanes originaires du nord du pays, vivier naturel de la cause « ouattariste », à laquelle s’ajoute une terrible désespérance sociale, conséquence d’une insécurité galopante, mais aussi de taux records de chômage et de séroprévalence.
There [Abobo] one finds an explosive political cocktail: a large Muslim population from the north of the country, a natural breeding ground for pro-Ouattara supporters, plus terrible social despair, the result of widespread insecurity but also record unemployment and disease prevalence.
In the meantime, in Yopougon where the Muslim community is the minority, a mosque was vandalised by young Gbagbo supporters. On March 14, 2011, two men were burnt [fr] on suspicion of being members of Ouattara's 'Invisible Commandos'.

Escalation of hatred

How did the country get to this point ?

The question of religious identity resurfaced on December 3, 2010, when the Ivorian Constitutional Council, in opposition to Electoral Commission's results, declared Laurent Gbagbo president by invalidating the votes of some 600,000 people in the northern, mostly Muslim, regions of the country.

Laurent Gbagbo and his wife, Simone, are both declared born-again Christians who are not shy about sharing their faith in a political context. On Simone Gbagbo's website [fr], religion is said to have an important place in the former first lady's life and political commitment:
I am convinced that Jesus' blood, which was shed on the cross, is powerful and can save anyone who believes, the First Lady thinks that through this blood, we are washed and purified and thus able to operate in the same dimension as our Lord in order to transform our communities and even our nation (John 14:12).
One Ivorian native netizen posted a message on American politician Sarah Palin's Facebook page in December 2010, in which he urged American Christians not to let US President Obama standby without supporting the Gbagbos:
Will Americans idly sit on the side and watch their President humiliate Laurent Gbagbo and Simone Ehivet Gbagbo, a Born-again Evangelical Christian couple and throw them out of office or watch some Muslim rebels invade their palace and kill them with the conspiracy of the international community?
Sacha Project, a blogger [fr] who resides mainly in Abidjan, wrote a post on March 11, 2011, refering to French daily Le Monde's editorial of the same day entitled, "The future of Africa is playing out in Côte d'Ivoire" [fr], in which the author compares Côte d'Ivoire to the Spain of 1936 under Franco. Sacha Project believes that the comparison has a lot of merit:
Comme dans l’Espagne de 1936, un État se trouve menacé par une minorité armée refusant un pouvoir légitimement élu, (...).Gbagbo n’est pas Franco, Gbagbo n’est pas fasciste. Pourtant les idées du FPI le sont. Franco ne se disait pas fasciste mais se voulait « nationaliste ». Gbagbo se veut « patriote ». Le nationalisme xénophobe à outrance, l’ivoirité et ses chantres, les techniques de manipulations médiatiques, le discours religieux de Simone Gbagbo tenant le pouvoir de son mari pour un pouvoir quasi divin, sont les éléments en quelque sorte, d’un fascisme à l’ivoirienne.
Like in the Spain of 1936, a state is threatened by an armed minority which refuses a lawfully elected president (...). Gbagbo is not Franco, Gbagbo is not a fascist. Yet the ideas of the Ivorian Patriotic Front (FPI) are. Franco didn't consider himself fascist, but "nationalist". Gbagbo considers himself a "patriot". Yet the excessive xenophobic nationalism, Ivorian identity and its eulogists, media manipulation, and Simone Gbagbo's religious speech which considers her husband's power as quasi-divine, these are elements of an Ivorian style fascism.
Proof of the recent escalation of ethnic and religious antagonism in Ivorian society is more than visible on the web. Global Voices author Anna Gueye, demonstrated in a recent article examples of Facebook users who are spreading hate speech against Ouattara's supporters.

In fact, Facebook is filled with commentary and hate speech on the Ivorian crisis. Ebony Côte d'Ivoire shared on March 4, 2011, a video of a hatred-inciting song comparing opponents of the Gbagbo government to "Mossi" (mosquitoes) who should be killed with "Baygon" (insecticide):

The song literally says:
Little Mossi will die, we will pump Baygon
Youtube user AfricaWeWish posted a video of people singing and dancing to this song, the user showing their obvious distaste through the title given to the video: "Slogan for a future Genocide? We will pump Baygon".

"Mossi" also has another meaning, as explained by @Belligiani on Twitter:
Mossi c'est une ethnie du burkina faso, mais les Ivoiriens ont tendance a appeler Tout ce qui vient du burkina "mossi"!
The Mossi are an ethnic group from Burkina Faso, but Ivorians tend to call everyone who is from Burkina "Mossi"!
He continues:
Mais mossi est utilise comme une injure pr les diminués!
But Mossi is an insult used for "diminished" people!
According to a local source interviewed via web chat, this song is popularly sung in popular pro-Gbagbo areas of Abidjan, like Yopougon. On Twitter, a user called @MossiDramane who seems to relish the strife and provocation, wrote on March 7 about Ouattara supporters mainly from the Muslim north:
Vos tueries selon sont autorisé par le coran.#civ2010
Your deaths are permitted by the Quran. #civ2010
He also writes in Dioula, a regional Ivorian northern language:
Les djoulas gawa lá on a ramené l'o et le courant.dansez un peu kè!!pidi pandan!!goumé+sipa tchié AGBANAN dèh!! #civ2010
According to a source living in Abidjan, who translated the quote, those words are clearly inciting hatred towards ethnic Dioulas:
Stupid Dioulas [ethnic group, from the north], we gave you water and electricity in the north. Come on dance now! Pidi Pandan [imitation of the sound of the malinké northern ethnic drum]! Goumé and sipa [these are traditional malinké dances], wow, it will be hot!!
Violence in the streets

In Yopougon, where a minority Muslim population is settled in the Wassakra neighbourhood, a witch hunt was organised against the Muslim population. On March 6, 2011, the Facebook group called "Ivorians on Facebook for ADO" (Alassane Dramane Ouattara) posted a video, in which young men can be seen being burnt, with tyres being placed on them.

The video (Warning: Graphic content) was also put on YouTube by user on March 6 also, and has been viewed by more than 17,000 people.

The France 24 Observers website posted a comprehensive article describing what happened on that day, based on the testimony of an inhabitant:
The whole neighbourhood was talking about it, so I went to see. The two charred bodies were still in the middle of the tyres opposite the Siporex pharmacy, close to the Dabon Yopougon train station. All of the shops were closed. Whilst I was there people explained to me what happened, but it is difficult to verify their version of events because by the time I got there, there were only militia and pro-Gbagbo activists around. According to them, at around 5 or 6am, two men were stopped by the militia, who asked to check their ID. The men did not have their papers with them. They were taken to be pro-Ouattara rebels and the situation got out of hand.
An Ivorian politician, Seth Koko, who used to work with Laurent Gbagbo, posted on his self-titled blog on March 7, another description [fr] of the scene. An Anti Riot Brigade (BAE) car can be seen in the beginning of the video, which led Koko to conclude that the BAE, loyal to Gbagbo, was involved with the incident. He explains that at several times during the video, one can hear people shouting "BAE":
A 1mn 20 secondes, nous voyons un homme en tenue militaire, arme à la main, qui attise le feu sous les encouragements d’un assistant qui crie : « BAE !! »
At 01:20 minutes, we see a man in military outfit, a weapon in his hand, who fans the fire, encouraged by an assistant who shouts: "BAE!!"
@sroukoudazoa explains on Twitter:
le supplice du pneu en feu les miliciens bébégbagbos l'appellent article 125 : pétrole 100 1 boîte d'allumette 25
the burning tyre punishment, Babygbagbos calls the 125 [Francs CFA] item: gas 100 [francs] and a matchbox 25 [francs]
Ebony Côte d'Ivoire, commenting in one of her Facebook posts, confirms that pro-Gbagbo supporters have used tyres to burn those they call "rebels" [Ouattara supporters]:

(...) Rebel bastards! Since 2002 it's been them cutting people's throats, we burn them with tyres. (...)
Humans are not the only ones to have been burnt in Yopougon. In the following video posted on the video sharing site, by user Abidjanais, a minivan is destroyed by fire:

[caption id="attachment_206560" align="alignright" width="258" caption="Gbaka van in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. Image from"]Gbaka van in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. Image from[/caption]

These minivans are called 'Gbakas', and are perceived to be mainly owned by the Dioula ethnic group from the north. The burnings are explained in this article [fr] published on February 27, on the website Connection Ivoirienne after the first occurrence:
Des ‘jeunes patriotes’ qui chaque matin, depuis le déclenchement de la crise postélectorale, font des footings à pas rythmés et encadrés par des hommes en tenue militaire, armes au poing, s’attaquent immédiatement à plusieurs minibus communément appelés ‘gbakas’ et susceptibles d’appartenir à des ‘Dioulas’, communauté ethnique dont est issu Alassane Ouattara.
'Young patriots' who, every morning since the beginning of the post-electoral crisis, jog surrounded by men in military outfits, weapons in hand, suddenly attacked several minivans, generally called 'gbakas', which are likely to belong to 'Dioulas', an ethnic group from which Alassane Ouattara originates.
D, an Ivorian who lives in Abidjan and who wishes to remain anonymous, when interviewed via webchat said:
On n'est pas loin de la derive genocidaire
We are on the brink of a genocidal drift

lundi 7 février 2011

Global Voices - Gabon: The Invisible Revolt

My latest Global Voices article on the situation in Gabon. After the swearing in of André Mba Obame, the country entered a period of turmoil, which hasn't been reported in the traditional medias. After Tunisia and Egypt, are we witnessing another revolution in Africa ? Seems like things will not be the same anymore on the Continent.

"Protests in Gabon have failed to make a dent in the international news cycle as all eyes are still turned towards the Egyptian crisis. Mohamed Keita of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)  was wondering if "fake news wasn't drawing real censorship" in Gabon, as he discussed  the closing of the 1st private Gabonese TV channel, TV+. According to M Keita, the overreaction by the Ali Bongo's government is a sign of a deeper concern : what was considered ridiculous by Ali Bongo and his partisans before seems to have created subtantial political turmoil in this little Central African nation.
The rhetorical strategy of Bongo's camp seems to consist of the total denyial of the opposition party.

Sekou Oumar Doumbia, a Bongo partisan, writes on Ali Bongo's Facebook page:
"Continuez de travailler et laissez les ridicules rêver."
"Keep on working  and let the ridiculous people dream on"
Nevertheless, the situation appears  more complicated: In the last five days, the country has witnessed excivil unrest. But IQ4News, a columnist style magazine website dedicated to African related issues, noticed that Protests in Gabon "have gone largely unnoticed by the media because of the focus on Egypt."

Mass Protests in Libreville and the UNDP building attack

Thanks to locally based activists, there has a been a coverage of the events, and the latter was advertised through different social networks.

Last saturday a demonstration was organised at Carrefour Rio in Libreville, the Capital city. More than 2000 Mba Obame's partisans went to protest against Ali Bongo's government and faced the public forces.

[caption id="attachment_192476" align="aligncenter" width="375" caption="Demonsration, Carrefour Rio in LIbreville January 29th 2011"][/caption]

This demonstration was followed by violent clashes between Mba Obame's partisans and Ali Bongo's Police forces, who were trapped by groups of demonstrators in slums near the place where the demonstration started.

The same day, Military forces were ordained to attack the United Nations Program for Development (UNDP) building in Libreville, where Mba Obame and his Government sought asylum. Camarade, a Gabonese activist, posted on his blog (fr) pictures showing some victims of the attack:

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="324" caption="Mba Obame's Partisan after UNDP attack 29th January 2011-(c) Camarade on LePost"][/caption]

Voice of the Gabonese people (La voix du Peuple Gabonais LVDPG) reports on its website (fr) that 2000 other persons demonstrated in Bitam (fr), in the North of the country, on Monday 31st January. On the same site, it is said that Riots occured in many districts (fr) of Libreville on 2nd February. In Atong Abè, one Policeman was wounded.

Franklin explains on Twitter :
"Gabon:Crise politique:Soulèvements populaires en cours; quartiers pauvres de Nkembo, Cocotiers, Gare-routière, Atong Abè. Un blessé grave."
"Gabon: Political crisis: Uprising of the people happening now; poor districts of Nkembo, Cocotiers, Gare-Routière, Atong Abè. One serious wounded."

[caption id="attachment_192512" align="aligncenter" width="375" caption="Meyo-Kye, North Gabon, 2nd February 2011"][/caption]

"In Tunisia, Ben ALi left. In Gabon, Ali Ben Out."

[caption id="attachment_192499" align="aligncenter" width="375" caption="Cars burnt in Atong Abè, Libreville, after riots on 2nd February"][/caption]

Wave of arrest of sympathisers and executives

A dozen of executives ans sympathisers of the National Union (NU), main opposition party, have been arrested during the last five days. published a Press release by President of NU:
"A 5 heures du matin plusieurs compatriotes ont été arrêtés, brutalisés et transférés au camp Aïssa (caserne du Bataillon des parachutistes gabonais), puis au camp de gendarmerie de Gros-Bouquet, avant d’être finalement gardés à vue, à partir du 28 janvier, dans les sous-sols de la Direction générale des Recherches de la Gendarmerie Nationale et ce, au mépris de la loi qui interdit toute garde à vue au-delà de 72h."
"5 am several comrades were arrested, brutalised, and transferred to the Aïssa camp ( Barrack of the Gabonese Paratroopers' battalion), then to the Gros-Bouquet Police Station's camp, before being placed in custody, from 28th January, in the cellar of the Research General Direction of the National Gendarmerie. Doing this they violated the law which forbidds above 72 hours custody."
The Putative Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Ben Moubamba, tweeted this morning about the kidnapping of the son of a Gabonese MP, Alexis Bengone:
"Organized Repression & Brutality in Gabon. Former Prime minister' Son kidnapped by hooded men. #revogab#egypt #tunisia #civ2010"
Some assume that his arrest is related to his online activism. He manages the "Gabao Res Publica" social network, and might have  tried to raise youth with this article: "Gabon: A generation in quest of Democratic sense"."