In a press release published on April 30, Amnesty International calls for the release of four West African migrants imprisoned for more than five months in Equatorial Guinea after roundups that targeted hundreds of foreigners residing illegally.
The Malians Abdoulay Ndom and Mouamed Kalouare, the Guinean Toba Mammed and the Ivorian Lamin Sisoko, “irregular migrants”specifies the NGO “have been detained since mid-November 2021 in a police station in Malabo”, capital of Equatorial Guinea. This small hydrocarbon-rich Central African country has been ruled with an iron fist for more than 42 years by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
The four men did not have access to administrative or judicial procedures to contest the reasons for their arrest”continues the NGO, also ensuring that “Mr Kalouare suffers from headaches, fever, persistent cough and chest pain” and requires, according to his lawyer to “appropriate medical care”. All four were apprehended during several “massive raids”according to Amnesty, in November and December 2021 in major Equatoguinean cities, targeting hundreds of undocumented migrants.
At least 500 arrests
“The foreigners arrested were those who entered Equatorial Guinea clandestinely (…) and others who had already been there for some time without a residence permit”had justified Simeon Oyono Esono, Minister of Foreign Affairs, before the ambassadors of several European countries last November.
According to Amnesty, more than 500 people in total, mainly nationals of Cameroon, Nigeria, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Central African Republic, Chad and Mali were arrested in November and December. Apart from the four cited by Amnesty, all were “deported to their country of origin without due process and without access to a lawyer” Where “released after several weeks without any explanation of the reasons for their arrest”according to the NGO, which also claims that “dozens reported being severely beaten and mistreated during their arrest and detention”.