The Socialist Unity Network

Don't deport Bernard Petegou!

Kath Sainsbury


In 2001 Bernard Petegou fled from Cameroon where tribal persecution still exists between two groups, the Bamileke and the Beti.
Bernard had worked in a general store in Yaounda and during 1999 he was approached several times by young supporters of  the government CPDM asking for donations to their party.


These people had formed a group named Presbi, calling themselves 'Tax Agents'.   Bernard refused to contribute and consequently became a target.
Bernard was a sympathiser of the pro-democracy party UFDC,  and wrote papers expressing ideas against the government.  In September 2000 residents and traders were asked to attend a meeting to elect new executives for the youths in CPDM.  When Bernard didn't attend, he was accused of being in opposition to the government and a few weeks later the Presbi arrived with a bulldozer threatening to demolish Bernard's shop.
This took place at the time of the French-African summit and the officials claimed that the government sought to clear the town of eyesores during the visit of VIPs.
When Bernard refused to leave his shop he was dragged out by police and beaten.  They arrested him and while in detention he was physically abused. 
Bernard managed to escape in January 2001 and went into hiding for 2 months.  During this time he was told that police had raided his house and confiscated one of his manuscripts.
Realising that this placed him in extreme danger as an opponent of the government, he left Cameroon and claimed asylum in the UK.  His application has been refused and he is currently in detention and faces removal on 15th July.
Since living in the UK Bernard has settled in Middlesbrough and has established a happy family life.  In March 2004 he married Sarah and the couple expect their first child in December.  Sarah also has a little girl who regards Bernard as her daddy and has been desperately upset since his arrest and detention.
Bernard needs to be with  his family;-  to separate them now  would cause trauma to their little girl and immense distress to Sarah at a time when she most needs the support of her husband.
 Their situation should be looked upon with compassion and Bernard should be allowed to look forward to a future in the north east.
      What you can do to help:
      Fax/write to the Home Secretary requesting that Bernard is allowed to stay.  You can use the model letter attached.  Copy/amend/write your own version, feel free to add your own comments.

      You can fax David Blunkett on 0207 273 3965 or from outside the UK on +44 207 273 3965
Or write direct:
David Blunkett
Home Secretary
Home Office
50 Queen Anne's Gate
Sw1H  9AT
For further details/information contact the campaign at:
Don't Deport Bernard Petegou
66 Dovecot Street
TS18 1LL
Tel/Fax: 01642 679298


July 2004


For Socialist Unity ~ For Internationalism ~ For Peace ~ For Justice ~ For Unity ~ For Socialism