Cameroon's main opposition leader, Kamto, arrested on protest



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Cameroon authorities arrested opposition leader Maurice Kamto on Monday, his lawyer said, after protests over the weekend that security forces dispersed with bullets, injuring six people.

Kamto has been mobilizing dissent against President Paul Biya since losing what he claims to be a fraudulent election in October. Kamto declared himself the winner at the time of the vote and has since challenged Biya's victory at the African Union court.

Protests are rare in Cameroon, outside its troubled West Anglophone region, and tend to be swiftly slaughtered by force and mass arrest.

"I can confirm that Professor Maurice Kamto has been arrested [today]"His lawyer, Agbor Bala, told Reuters by telephone, adding that it was because of the weekend protests in which dozens participated. His party treasurer, the Cameroon Revival Movement, Alain Fogue, was also detained, Bala said .

Cameroon Gendarmerie members patrol in Omar Bongo Square, capital of Cameroon province, in the provincial capital of Buea, during a demonstration in support of Cameroonian President Paul Biya on October 3, 2018.

Cameroon Gendarmerie members patrol in Omar Bongo Square, capital of Cameroon province, in the provincial capital of Buea, during a demonstration in support of Cameroonian President Paul Biya on October 3, 2018.

At age 85, Biya is the oldest leader in sub-Saharan Africa and most Cameroonians know him only as president. He holds cabinet meetings only every few years and spends much of his time on private trips to Switzerland. But the opposition has been unable to mount a reliable challenge for him.

The election cemented its place as one of Africa's oldest leaders, but allegations of ballot and intimidation hovered over its victory, and membership was low because of a secessionist revolt in Anglophone regions where hundreds had died.

The Biya camp denied all allegations of electoral fraud.

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