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PRETORIA – Activists fighting for the independent state of Ambazonia (Anglophone Cameroon) have vowed to continue their quest for freedom and the right to self-determination in the face of reprisals from President Pau Biya’s government, which has respondent with heavy-handedness and killed thousands since 2017.

The activists said this Friday, as they staged a protest at the Nigerian Embassy in Pretoria, where they called on the West African nation to – partly, intervene to stop a genocide being meted on their fellow activists by Biya’s security forces, which have so far killed an estimated more than 5,000, displaced more than 800,000 and destroyed infrastructure since 2017, when Anglophone Cameroon declared its independence and announced an interim government.

Estimates are that more than 300,000 people from Cameroon’s troubled Anglophone region now live as refugees in Nigeria and the activists wanted guarantees for the safety of those refugees.


Patrick Ayuk addresses protestors

Safety for Cameroonian political refugees was breached on January 5 2019, when 10 Ambazonian leaders, including their leader, Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, were seized at gunpoint by Nigerian Security officials and eventually deported back to Cameroon, in utter disregard for the international law and principles guiding political prisoners and other asylum seekers.

The leaders were held incommunicado between the Nigerian and Cameroon government for six months, allegedly in deplorable conditions where they were denied access to family or legal representatives, in violation of the international Human Rights Law of the 1951 United Nations Convention (Article 33) on refugees and 1967 protocol, as well as the African Charter for Human Rights to which both Nigeria and Cameroon are signatories.

The 10 were charged with 10 counts under Cameroon’s anti-terrorism law and if convicted, they could face the death penalty over what they argue is their struggle for an independent state they call Ambazonia.

On March 1 this year, the Federal High Court of Nigeria ruled in Abuja that the abduction and subsequent deportation of 10 leaders and 39 youths from the former British colony of South Cameroon, who had sought refuge in the West African country, was illegal.

The activists said Friday’s protest was partly meant to request the Nigerian government to adhere to and fully implement the court judgment.

“The Judgment of the Federal High Court of Abuja was testimony of the fairness of the Nigerian Judiciary system,” said Patrick Ayuk, Director of the Sam Soya Centre for Democracy and Human Rights.

“While we greatly appreciate it, we are now calling on the executive arm of the Nigerian Government to heed the Judgment and ensure that all the 51 persons listed are freed and compensated as indicated in the ruling.”

The activists solicited the urgent intervention of the Nigerian government to prove to the world that it respected the rulings of its own courts and thereby immediately engage French Cameroon to have all 51 detainees, including members of the Ambazonian Interim Government and other asylum seekers abducted in Nigeria and unlawfully deported back to Cameroon to be sent back to Nigeria and compensated as stipulated in the Court Ruling of March 1.

Other demands were that Nigeria should call on the government of Cameroon to immediately and unconditionally withdraw its “armed terrorist forces of occupation and colonial administrators from the territory of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia (the Southern Cameroons) by respecting the Section 40 and Article 20 of the Africa Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) which give a people their unquestionable and inalienable right to Self Determination, an Act violated by the Nigerian Government when it deported our people back to French Cameroun as cited in the Abuja Court Ruling of 1st March 2019.”

Nigeria should create an opportunity for constructive dialogue

”Nigeria should also create the opportunity for constructive dialogue in the presence of credible third parties, including the UK, the United Nations and the African Union to address the root cause of the problems, intervene to stop the Genocide currently meted on the Ambazonian people, continue to assist refugees from Southern Cameroons, by providing them with a safe haven and other much needed assistance in Nigeria and honour its vote of Independence that it accorded British Southern Cameroons on 30th April 1960,” read a statement from the protestors.

Source: africanvoiceglobal

A global human rights organisation said on Thursday that at least 170 civilians have been killed since October in fighting in English-speaking western Cameroon between separatists and government forces.

“Government forces in Cameroon’s anglophone regions have killed scores of civilians, used indiscriminate force, and torched hundreds of homes over the past six months,” Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report.

The group based its findings on interviews with 140 victims, family members and witnesses between December and March, it said.

Government forces in Cameroon’s anglophone regions have killed scores of civilians.

“Since October, at least 170 civilians have been killed in over 220 incidents… according to media reports and Human Rights Watch research,” it said.

Security forces killed

Another 31 members of the security forces were killed in operations between October and February, it said.

“Given the ongoing clashes and the difficulty of collecting information from remote areas, the number of civilian deaths is most likely higher,” it added.

Who is to blame?

HRW did not explicitly blame government forces for all 170 civilian deaths.

It said armed separatists assaulted and kidnapped dozens of people during the same period, executing at least two men.

The government sent a letter to HRW denying “extortion” by the army described in the report, the group said.

The International Crisis Group has said the death toll since the start of the fighting has topped 500 for civilians and more than 200 for members of the security forces.

Anglophone crisis

The conflict broke out in October 2017 when the anglophone separatists launched an armed campaign.

English speakers, who account for about a fifth of Cameroon’s population of 24 million, have complained for years at perceived discrimination in education, law and economic opportunities at the hands of the francophone majority.

The anglophone movement radicalised in 2017 as the authorities refused demands for greater autonomy for the Northwest and Southwest Regions.

On October 1 that year, separatists declared the creation of the “Republic of Ambazonia” in the two regions, named after the local Ambas Bay. The declaration has not been recognised internationally.

“Cameroon’s authorities have an obligation to respond lawfully and to protect people’s rights during periods of violence,” said Lewis Mudge, HRW’s Central Africa director. “The government’s heavy-handed response targeting civilians is counterproductive and risks igniting more violence.”

Some 437,000 people have fled the fighting, according to the United Nations, which called Tuesday for $184 million to help the displaced.

Source: Africanews

The Social Democratic Front, SDF says some members of the Biya regime are sponsoring armed groups in the North West and South West regions of the country.

Meeting at the weekend in Yaounde, the National Executive Committee of the party condemned the recent wave of violence in the Anglophone regions.

The attack on the convoys of the Governors of the North West and South West regions, the burning of the Kumba Hospital, as well as attacks on students and kidnap of civilians were some of the atrocities in the past months that drew the attention of the party as they condemned such acts.

However, the party said such acts carried out by armed groups which might be sponsored by some members of the Biya regime, for their selfish interests.

The SDF criticised the authorities, who are protected by security forces,  for forcing civilians without protection to risk their lives to carry out civic duties like voting despite the insecurity in these regions.

The party condemned all forms of violence no matter its origin and once again called for a ceasefire and dialogue as the only way out of the crisis.

Source: journalducameroun

After years of skirmishing, the English-speaking minority scarcely trusts the government.

For the past three years, civil strife has been tearing Cameroon apart. New public opinion data from Afrobarometer suggest serious — and widening — rifts in fundamental perceptions and attitudes between the country’s Anglophone and Francophone regions.

A snapshot of Cameroon’s turmoil

For more than half a century after independence in 1960, Cameroon’s Francophone majority (formerly ruled by the French) and Anglophone minority (ex-British colonial subjects) lived in uneasy, but largely peaceful, union.

In 2016, occasional protests against what many English-speaking citizens see as discrimination and exclusion intensified and turned violent. Now, militant Anglophone separatists skirmish with government forces almost daily. Human Rights Watch and other observers have accused both sides of killings, kidnappings and other abuses.

According to the United Nations, the violence has displaced hundreds of thousands of people, including thousands who have fled to neighboring Nigeria. In October, English-speaking Cameroon boycotted the presidential election en masse; Paul Biya, who has held that position since 1982, won — but many observers declared the election marred by irregularities and violence.

How deep is the divide between English- and French-speaking Cameroon?

Pulling farther apart on fundamental questions

Public-opinion data show that the Anglophone and Francophone regions have moved quite far from each other since 2016 on fundamental questions of democracy, trust in the state and national identity.

Afrobarometer has interviewed nationally representative samples of 1,200 adult Cameroonians in 2013, 2015, and May-June 2018, producing results with a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level. We did our analysis based on region, rather than primary language.

Here’s what we found. Most Cameroonians living in Anglophone regions no longer view their country as a functioning democracy. That’s a drastic shift from four years ago — and contrasts sharply with the views of their compatriots in Francophone regions. The proportion of Anglophone residents who consider Cameroon “a full democracy” or “a democracy with minor problems” dropped from more than half (52 percent) in 2015 to just 1 in 8 (12 percent) in 2018. Among those living in Francophone regions, the proportion of those who agree has slowly increased from 36 percent in 2013 to 45 percent, as you can see in the figure below.

Cameroon is a democracy | Anglophone vs. Francophone | Cameroon | 2013-2018

Respondents were asked: In your opinion, how much of a democracy is Cameroon today? The graph shows the percentage who say “a full democracy” or “a democracy with minor problems.” (Mircea Lazar /Mircea Lazar)

Similarly, as you can see in the figure below, satisfaction with the way democracy is working in Cameroon has plummeted among Anglophone citizens, from 43 percent who said they were “fairly” or “very” satisfied in 2015 to just 7 percent in 2018. Among Francophones, meanwhile, satisfaction remains low but fairly steady, at 33 percent.

Satisfied with democracy | Anglophone vs. Francophone | Cameroon | 2013-2018

Respondents were asked: Overall, how satisfied are you with the way democracy works in Cameroon? The graph shows the percentage who say “fairly satisfied” or “very satisfied.” (Mircea Lazar/Mircea Lazar)

Fewer than half (45 percent) of Anglophone Cameroonians now say they prefer democracy to any other political system, a sharp drop from 64 percent in 2015. Among Francophones, support for democracy has remained steady at two-thirds, or 66 percent. Popular support for elections as the best way to choose leaders shows a similar pattern.

Political scientists often consider popular trust in the police and the army to be a core indicator of broader support for the state — and so here, too, our survey findings may trouble policymakers. As you can see in the figure below, almost 6 in 10 Anglophone citizens, or 58 percent, say they do not trust the police “at all,” up from 39 percent in 2015 and more than double the proportion of absolute distrust among Francophones, at 24 percent. The divide is even greater when it comes to the army: The proportion of Anglophones who say they don’t trust the military “at all” has nearly tripled since 2015, from 22 percent to 62 percent, compared to just 13 percent of Francophones who say the same thing.

Don’t trust police and army ‘at all’ | Anglophone vs. Francophone | Cameroon | 2013-2018

Respondents were asked: How much do you trust each of the following, or haven’t you heard enough about them to say: The police? The army? The graph shows the percentage who say “not at all.”

Another key indicator of a growing chasm is identity: Do citizens identify more with their nation or with their ethnic group? If it’s the former, a fundamental national unity may exist that can help prevent civil conflict. Until recently, in Cameroon only small minorities — between 6 percent and 12 percent — of both Anglophone and Francophone citizens identified more closely with their ethnic group than with their nation. But as you can see below, since 2015, the proportion of Anglophones who identify more strongly with their ethnic group than their nationality has quadrupled, to almost one-third (31 percent). Among Francophones, the increase was from 7 percent to 13 percent.

Ethnic over national identity | Anglophone vs. Francophone | Cameroon | 2013-2018

Respondents were asked: Let us suppose that you had to choose between being a Cameroonian and being a ________[respondent’s ethnic group]. Which of the following statements best expresses your feelings: I feel only [ethnic group]? I feel more [ethnic group] than Cameroonian? I feel equally Cameroonian and [ethnic group]? I feel more Cameroonian than [ethnic group]? I feel only Cameroonian? The graph shows the percentage who say they feel “only [ethnic group]” or “more [ethnic group] than Cameroonian.. (Mircea Lazar/Mircea Lazar)

The results reveal that Cameroon’s national unity is fragmenting

These growing divides between Anglophone and Francophone Cameroonians suggest that beyond the headlines, some citizens may be starting to abandon a belief in the country’s unity. Despite Cameroon’s long history of individual English and French speakers living peacefully as friends and compatriots, these tears in the national fabric will take both time and skilled and inclusive political leadership to mend.

Author: Mircea Lazar

Source: washingtonpost

Falana promised to institute a legal case of contempt proceeding against the NSA and Nigerian government if they failed to return the deported refugees within the stipulated time.

Femi Falana (SAN), foremost human rights lawyer, has given the Nigerian government two weeks to bring back refugees and asylum seekers deported to their countries by the National Security Adviser (NSA).

In a letter dated March 20, 2019, Falana informed Abubakar Malami (SAN), Attorney-General of the Federation, of the court judgments against the NSA.

Judgments were given in two suits; FHC/ABJ/CS/147/2018 by Wilfred Tassang and 50 others against the NSA and FHC/ABJ/CS/85/2018 by Mr. Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and 10 others against the NSA.

Falana stated that refugees and asylum seekers are guaranteed legal protections according to 1999 Constitution, the National Commission for Refugees (Establishment Etc) Act, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the United Nations on Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees Commission. 

Falana wrote: “In view of the foregoing, we are compelled to request you to use your good offices to advise the Federal Government to comply with the aforesaid judgments of the Federal High Court without any further delay.

“In particular, you may wish to draw the attention of the relevant authorities to the case of the Minister of Internal Affairs v. Alhaji Shugaba Darman (1982) 3 NCLR 915 where the respondent who had been illegally deported to the Republic of Chad by the Federal Government was brought back to Nigeria in compliance with the orders of the Borno State High Court presided over by the Honourable Justice Oye Adefila of blessed memory.”

Falana promised to institute a legal case of contempt proceeding against the NSA and Nigerian government if they failed to return the deported refugees within the stipulated time.

Falana had on March 1, won a case he instituted against the government when Justice Anwali Chinkere of the Federal High Court ordered that deportation of refugees and asylum seekers is illegal and unconstitutional.

A key Cameroonian separatist leader, Julius Ayuk Tabe, and 46 others were deported from Nigeria after their arrest in Abuja.

Ayuk, President of a self-declared breakaway state made up of the Anglophone regions of majority-Francophone Cameroon, was one of 15 people whom Cameroon issued an international arrest warrant for in November 2017.

Cameroonian Communications Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary approved the move, saying “a group of 47 terrorists, among them Mr. Ayuk Tabe, has for some hours been in the hands of Cameroonian justice, before which they will answer for their crimes.”

He also praised Nigeria for joining Cameroon in “never tolerating their respective territories serving as a base for activities that destabilise one or the other”.

Source: saharareporters

The top United States diplomat to Africa says perhaps it’s time to take the deadly separatist crisis in Cameroon to an “international forum.”

An exasperated Tibor Nagy told reporters on Tuesday that “my heart breaks for Cameroon … I just don’t understand why this crisis goes on and on and on.”

Some half a million people have been displaced as Cameroon’s government battles an Anglophone separatist movement in the largely French-speaking country. Weary residents in the middle have pleaded for peace.

Nagy, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Africa, called for “open, unlimited national dialogue.”

Cameroon’s government in a strongly worded statement last week criticized Nagy’s earlier comments on the Anglophone crisis, accusing him of misunderstanding the situation and interfering in the West African country’s internal affairs.

Source: nytimes

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This year’s edition of the Cameroon Film Festival, Camiff has been cancelled due to the growing insecurity in the Anglophone regions.

The festival was initially take place in Buea from the 22 – 27 April but the security situation in city has now forced organisers to cancel the event.

The founder of Camiff said the event was cancelled after proper consultation with local Government authorities, the police and Embassies and it became clear the crisis affecting the Anglophone regions will make it difficult for participants to access Buea.

“Our International celebrities have been advised by their governments and security teams to avoid visiting Cameroon at this time,”Agbor Gilbert Ebot said.

“We did attempt to come up with an alternative date but sadly we were advised that this would be too impractical for both sponsors and partners as we cannot foresee a break or an end to this ongoing saga in 2019.

The event has thus been postponed to April 20-25, 2020 with all submissins for this year carried forward to next year.

Source: journalducameroun

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The leaders of Ambazonia abducted and illegally deported from Nigeria to Cameroon, have said faced with their current trial, they have only two choices; Independence or resistance to the last man standing. This decision is contained in a letter signed by the leaders currently locked up at the Kondengui prison in Yaounde.

In the letter obtained by CNA, the leaders of the former territory of British Southern Cameroons, now preferred Ambazonia, seeking a break-away from Cameroon, said they are tired of being tossed from one place to another by whom they described as colonizers.

They promised that the State of Ambazonia will be unique, free and will have concern for the weak, the less privilege, women, children among others.

They apologised for not being there to stop the massacre perpetrated by Cameroon Soldiers but promised that they will rebuild their nation , eliminate tribalism and encourage good governance.

The letter comes few days to a crucial court session on March 7, 2019 when the kidnapped leaders are expected at the military court in Yaounde.

It also comes barely days after the Nigerian Federal High Court in Abuja ordered the Nigerian Government to bring back the leaders from Cameroon.

The court ruled that, their kidnap and deportation did not respect international laws because the deportees were duly registered or in the process of having refugee status.

“The Ambazonia Freedom Protocol:” defines the nature and values of the society the Ambazonia movement envisions to a global audience. The anonymous person who leaked the document pointed to the fact that it also contains the minimum acceptable terms for any negotiations to end the conflict between Cameroon and the former UN trust territory of Southern Cameroons under UK administration now christened Ambazonia, after the 1st of October 2017 declaration of the restoration of their statehood by the leader Sisiku Ayuktabe.

Source: cameroonnewsagency

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Nigeria court demands the return of H.E. Sisiku AyukTabe and Co. For detail report and analysis click here

The Abuja High Court ruling today, in favour of Sissuku & Co is a land mark precedent which puts to test the Independence of the Nigerian Judiciary against the Executive branch of Government.

I can say here without a blink of an eye that Sissuku & Co shall be ‘re extradited to Nigeria.
The Abuja ruling has triggered the imminent collapsed of the Trial at the Yaounde Military Tribunal.

Let’s look at the merits of the imminent collapsed of the Trial at the Yaounde Military Tribunal;

1) Jurisdiction; Because the defendants were transferred to Yaounde incommunicado, the Yaounde Military Tribunal has no jurisdiction to trial Sissuku & Co.
Yaounde will need to proof to a higher International Court what due process they followed to extradite the accused.
The Abuja Ruling has already indicted the Executive Arm of the Nigerian Government for violating the rights of Sissuku & Co. and for violating Nigerian Laws and The Nigerian Constitution.

2) UNHCR Docts The fact these same documents have been upheld by Abuja, Yaounde can’t turn around to say they are fake.
Both Cameroon and Nigeria are members of the U.N. and must respect the U.N. Conventions applicable in this case.

3) Nigeria’s International Reputation and Democratic Credentials; Nigeria is gunning to be a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council. If Nigeria fails to uphold it’s own laws and Constitution how then will other African countries respect her. South Africa who is competing with Nigeria for the position in UNSC will be keeping a close look to exploit any false move from Nigeria.

4) Higher Courts If the Nigerian Government fails to enforce the Abuja High Court ruling then the case will simply move to higher courts (Nigerian Supreme Court) then to Banjul, then HRC (Human Rights Committee) etc.
But I don’t think we will get to Banjul HRC.
The Nigerian Judicial System will settle the matter.
There is no way Buhari can overide the Nigerian Courts.

Case Precedent

Abu Hamza Vs The UK Government.
In their quest to get Abu Hamza extradited to the US, the UK Government suffered continuous defeats at the British Courts for 9 years continuously. The case went all the way to the European Human Rights Courts.
Yes the UK is an advanced democracy as compared to Nigeria. However The Nigerian Government will have to proof to the International Community it can respect The Rule of Law especially it’s own laws as she Nigeria is gunning to be a Big Boy in the International Community.
Big Boys respect the Rule of Law, else the world will be a jungle and anarchy will prevail.

Albert Womah Mukong Vs Cameroon [Communication No 458/1991, UN Doct. CCPR/C/51/D/458/1991 (1994). Human Rights Session – Firty First Session.

After having been unlawfully detained in prison without any convicted crimes in a court of law, Albert Mukong upon release from prison sued the Government of Cameroon for unlawful imprisonment.
Mukong won his case at the Human Rights Committee (HRC) against the Government of Cameroon who were ordered to pay Mukong compensation. The Human Rights Committee (HRC) ruled that the Government of Cameroon couldn’t infringed upon the rights of Mukong upon the justification of safeguarding the Unity of the State of Cameroon. The Government of Cameroon respected the verdict and paid Nuking hundreds of millions Fcfa.

There is substantial case precedent to corroborate the arguments for Why Buhari and the Government of Nigeria will be obligated to uphold the ruling of the Abuja High Court.

Conclusion
I therefore conclude, Sissuku & Co shall be ‘re extradited from Yaounde to Abuja.
Upon arrival in Abuja they shall be set free and compensated financially for unlawful imprisonment.

The Rule of Law shall prevail over the Executive machinations of Buhari and Biya.

Author: Oswald Tebit

The Federal High Court in Abuja, Nigeria has ordered the Nigerian government to return the 12 Ambazonia leaders who were arrested and deported to Cameroon in January 2017.

The High Court ruled on Friday that Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe and the others should be rehabilitated and compensated five million Naira each.

The ruling came after a team led by Nigerian human rights lawyers Barrister Abdul Oroh and Femi Falana filed for their return.

In the second case against other 57 persons deported to Cameroon, the court ordered for their return to Nigeria and be compensated 200 thousand Naira each. Barrister Abdul Oroh has applied for certified copies of the ruling.

Last month, the Yaounde military court ruled the detained Ambazonia leaders were registered as refugees and asylum seekers in Nigeria after the defense counsel submitted their documents but ruled they will be judged in Cameroon.

This defense counsel has since protested and insist on filing an appeal for the detained to be returned to Nigeria.

Source: journalducameroun

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