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200 opposition militants freed in Equatorial Guinea

AFP , Tuesday 3 May 2016
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Two hundred Equatorial Guinea opposition militants have been released after being detained in a pre-election sweep, but others remain in horrendous conditions in detention, party leader Gabriel Nse Obiang Obono told AFP Tuesday.

"Some 200 of our militants arrested on April 21 and detained at Bata and Malabo were released on Saturday," said the Citizens for Change (CI) leader, who was himself barred from running in the April 24 presidential election.

Obono added that other party militants, including members of his own family, remained under lock and key.

"Six members of my family are being detained without trial in Malabo's Black Beach prison. They have been tortured, they have been submitted to cruel treatment, their feet have been hit by hammers and the women have been stripped and beaten," he added.

AFP was unable to obtain confirmation from police or authorities on the claimed releases and continued detentions.

Access to Obono's residence in the capital was blocked by police on April 22, under conditions he described as house arrest.

The surveillance has since been eased, with people allowed to come and go but a security presence remains in place, with an armoured car parked outside.

Africa's longest-serving leader, Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, extended his 36-year rule last month after being re-elected with an overwhelming majority, according to official results.

His regime is regularly denounced by human rights groups for repressing opposition, independent organisations, civil society and the media, as well as for corruption.

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