A 37-year-old man identified as Caleb Karyonm was found dead in a Central African Republic gendarmerie cell in Paoua on Saturday, March 5, after being tortured for over 10 days by gendarmes.
A family source told HumAngle that “Karyonm, was arrested and detained 10 days earlier in connection with a matter concerning the theft of a bag of groundnuts.”
“The late Karyonm bought the bag of groundnuts from one Boris Chaouchi who allegedly stole the bag of groundnuts from its rightful owner.”
HumAngle learnt that the victim landed in trouble after selling the farm produce to the wife of the sub-prefect who has been his customer for many years.
“When our brother and Chaouchi who sold the bag of groundnuts to our brother were arrested, the sub-prefect, Martin Kossi, instead turned against our brother who had revealed that he sold some of the groundnuts to his regular customer, the sub-prefect’s wife,” the family source added.
Several witnesses who know the activities of the deceased youth, held that the wife of the sub-prefect is a familiar client of the late Caleb who regularly sold groundnuts and beans to the sub-prefect’s wife.
The sub-prefect’s wife always took the groundnuts and beans to Bangui the capital where she retailed them.
“The su- prefect put pressure on the gendarmes to torture Caleb and Boris insisting that they should be made to stop associating his wife to the stolen bag of groundnuts. It would appear it was Caleb’s continued insistence that he sold part of the groundnuts to the sub-prefect’s wife that led to his being beaten to death,” one witness revealed.
Some detainees who were in the cell with Caleb said the gendarmes continued to torture him until he lost consciousness but instead of taking him to the hospital, abandoned him in the cell until he died.
“When they discovered that Caleb had died some hours later, they took his body to the Paoua mortuary from where his family took it for burial,” a witness said.
Before his burial, Paoua youths invaded the sub-prefecture and the gendarmerie shouting for justice and demanding that those responsible for the death of their friend be brought to book.
Caleb was buried on Sunday, March 6, in the presence of a large crowd some of whom threatened they would visit vengeance on the gendarmes who tortured the deceased to death.
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