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Equatorial Guinea: Fear of torture / possible prisoners of conscience

, N° d'index: AFR 24/001/1998

Victor Byuaban and his wife (name unknown), Father Eduardo Losoa, Carmelo Iriri, Juan Loeri, Marcelo Lohoso, Cristino Meda Seriche, Aurelio Losoa, Florencio Sicoco, Anastasio Copoboru, "Ebulabate" (no other name known) and others: An unknown number of people, inluding the above-named individuals, are being held incommunicado by the security forces following their arrest in Malabo and Rebola on 21 and 22 January 1998 in various locations around Equatorial Guinea's Bioko Island. They are feared to be at risk of torture and ill-treatment. All the detainees are Bubi, the ethnic group native to Bioko Island, and some may be detained solely on account of their ethnic origin. AI also received information that an unknown number of Bubi have also been arrested in Luba, Bioko's second town.

EXTERNAL AI Index: AFR 24/01/98
UA 24/98 Fear of torture / Possible prisoners
of conscience 23 January 1998
EQUATORIAL GUINEAVíctor Buyaban, teacher - and his wife (name unknown)
Father Eduardo Losoa, Roman Catholic priest
Carmelo Iriri
Juan Loeri, director of studies of the School of Agriculture
Marcelo Lohoso, parliamentarian
Cristino Meda Seriche
Aurelio Losoa
Florencio Sicoco
Anastasio Copoboru
"Ebulabate" (no other name known)
And others
An unknown number of people are being held incommunicado by the security forces
following their arrest on 21 and 22 January 1998 in various locations around
Equatorial Guinea’s Bioko Island. They are feared to be at risk of torture
and ill-treatment, which are routine in Equatorial Guinea. All the detainees
are Bubi, the ethnic group native to Bioko Island, and some may have been detained
solely on account of their ethnic origin.
Víctor Buyaban was arrested at midday on 21 January at the school where he
works in Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea, and beaten with rifles by
the arresting officers. His wife, whose name is not yet known to Amnesty
International, had been arrested earlier and taken to the school to force Víctor
Buyaban to give himself up. According to reports, she was also severely beaten.
Father Eduardo Losoa, Juan Loeri, Carmelo Iriri, Marcelo Lohoso, a
parliamentarian and member of the ruling Partido Democrático de Guinea
Ecuatorial (PDGE), Equatorial Guinea Democratic Party, and Cristino Meda
Seriche, until recently director of the Prime Minister’s office, were arrested
on 22 January, also in Malabo. All are being held at Malabo police station.
Aurelio Losoa, who has been arrested on several occasions before, Florencio
Sicoco, Anastasio Copoboru and another man known as "Ebulabate", were arrested
in Rebola, about eight kilometres (km) west of Malabo, and taken to Malabo
police station.
Amnesty International has received information that an unknown number of Bubi
have also been arrested in Luba, Bioko’s second town, about 70km southeast
of Malabo, Moka, about 75km south of Malabo, and Bahó Grande, 45km southeast
of Malabo.
The arrests followed attacks on military barracks in Luba, Moka and Bahó Grande
in the early hours of 21 January, which reportedly left eight soldiers and
one civilian dead and several other soldiers wounded. The government claims
that the attacks were carried out by members of the Movimiento para la
Autodeterminación de la Isla de Bioko (MAIB), Movement for the
self-determination of Bioko Island, a Bubi political party. According to
government reports, three of the alleged attackers have been captured. Amnesty
International has not been able to confirm this and does not know where the
three are being held.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
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The Bubi ethnic group continues to face discrimination from the Equatorial
Guinean authorities. Since Equatorial Guinea’s independence from Spain in 1968
many Bubi people have been killed and arrested for expressing their desire
to be independent.
The MAIB, founded in November 1994 by the Bubi ethnic group to achieve
independence for Bioko Island, is widely supported by the Bubi. To Amnesty
International’s knowledge, the MAIB, which has never been legalized, has not
used violence before its alleged involvement in the attacks of 21 January.
Since its creation hundreds of people belonging to the Bubi ethnic group have
been arrested on suspicion of supporting or belonging to the MAIB. Seldom has
the government presented any evidence to that effect.
Legislative elections are due in Equatorial Guinea this year. On 15 January
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo dismissed the government. A new
government has been appointed.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in Spanish or your own language:
- seeking assurances that none of the detainees, arrested on 21 and 22 January
1998, will be subjected to torture or ill-treatment;
- calling for them to have immediate access to their families, legal council
and medical attention;
- expressing concern that some of the detainees may have been arrested solely
for being members of the Bubi ethnic group and calling for them to be released
unless promptly charged with recognizable criminal offences;
- expressing concern that Víctor Buyaban and his wife were severely beaten
at the time of the arrest and calling for these reports to be investigated
with a view to bringing those responsible to justice.
APPEALS TO:
President
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo
Presidente de la República
Gabinete del Presidente de la República
Malabo, República de Guinea Ecuatorial
Faxes: +240 9 3313
Telexes: 5405 GBNOM 5405 EG
Telegrams: Presidente Obiang, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
Salutation: Excelencia/Your Excellency
Prime Minister
Serafín Seriche Dougan
Primer Ministro
Gabinete del Primer Ministro
Malabo, República de Guinea Ecuatorial
Telexes: 5405 GBNOM 5405 EG
Telegrams: Primer Minstro Seriche Dougan, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
Salutation: Excelencia/Your Excellency
Secretary of State for Security
Coronel Manuel Nguema Mba
Secretario de Estado para la Seguridad Nacional
Telexes: 5405 GBNOM 5405 EG
3
Telegrams: Primer Minstro Seriche Dougan, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
Salutation: Excelencia/Your Excellency
COPIES TO: diplomatic representatives of Equatorial Guinea accredited to your
country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 5 March 1998.

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