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Cameroonian President Paul Biya speaks with French President Emmanuel Macron during an EU Africa summit in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, Nov. 29, 2017 (AP photo by Diomande Ble Blonde).

What One Man’s Detention in Cameroon Says About France’s Role in Central Africa

Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018

Michel Thierry Atangana Abega spent 17 years in detention in Cameroon, locked in a tiny underground cell. He was alone for nearly all that time, denied access to lawyers and doctors and dependent on charity to supplement meager, state-issued rations. His primary connection to the outside world came from a radio that carried local stations and, sometimes, Radio France Internationale and the BBC.

Born in Cameroon in 1964, Atangana studied in France and became a naturalized French citizen in 1988. He embarked on a career as a financial engineer and, in 1994, traveled back to Cameroon to develop road projects. It was in that capacity, he says, that he got to know Titus Edzoa, who was then a high-ranking official in the president’s office in Yaounde. ...

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