Greensboro, NC -- A local group still in Cameroon on a mission trip says the story the government told about recent riots does not add up.
The group of missionaries contacted "The Mount Airy News" and sent photos they obtained from a protester to back up their story. They say the military put a "very good face" on the violence, indicating a "low" death toll and quick control of the unrest.
Some of the photographs are very graphic. Warning: they are not appropriate for young children.
Click here to see them.
In fact, African newspapers say the Cameroon government "cleansed" media reports and shut down access to media organizations. The reports suggest the official death toll of 20 is really more than 200. They say soldiers beat and rounded up thousands of people. Some have already faced summary trials without representation. Judges sentenced those protesters to months and years in prison.
The unrest began with a taxi driver strike the last week of February. It escalated to a nationwide protest over inflation and fuel prices.
"There is no way for us to get our message out," one Cameroon official told "The Mount Airy News" earlier this week. "We are relying on the American media to tell our story and show photographs of the terrible killings on the streets."
"The Mount Airy News" receieved these photos through an anonymous source. It cannot identify the
person because he or she remains in Bamenda and would risk being imprisoned or possibly killed by government
The local missionary group also says copies of these photos have "disappeared" from each of the missionary's
computers. Their email, they said, has been completely wiped clean. They say they don't know who did this, however,
some feared at the time their communications were being monitored by the Cameroon military.
Cameroon Tribune: Over 1,600 arrests so far
AllAfrica.com: Cameroon Not Quite Back to Normal
Mynews.in: Detention Centers Overflowing
WFMY News 2/Mt. Airy News