Ambazonian Leaders Sisiku And Co sentenced!
The interim leaders of the Ambazonian state Sisiku Ayuk Tabe Julius and nine others have been sentenced to life imprisonment.
According to Barrister Ayukotang Ndip Nkongho one of the defending lawyers, the military court in Yaounde found them guilty of all the charges levied against them.
The leaders were charged of terrorism, secession, insurrection and hostility against the state of Cameroon. The government blames the leaders for causing the armed conflict in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon that has claimed over 2000 lives according to International Crisis Group and the UN.
The verdict was handed down at 5:38 am today Tuesday 21st August 2019. Defending lawyers say it’s the most bias verdict so far.
“It’s terrible , we just left the court now after our clients were all sentenced to life imprisonment each and all jointly to pay a civil fine of 250 billion FCFA to the state and civil claimants. Again they will pay cost of more than 12billion FCFA jointly if they fail to pay the fine.” a defending lawyer reacts.
The defense lawyers have added that an Interlocutory appeal had already been sent to the Yaounde Court of Appeal and it is wrong for the military court to pass judgment when the outcome of the appeal is still awaited. They say they are not surprised by the decision because “like a cockroach, you don’t expect to get justice in a court presided over by fowls”
According to a renowned civil society and human rights actor in Buea Barrister Agbor Balla Nkongho Felix “The sentence of Sisiku and Co to life imprisonment is an affront to due process and the rule of law. The right to fair trial is a fundamental human right. The Sham process is a reflection of the Sham management of the Country.”
The sentence of the Ambazonian leaders Sisiku and Co comes when there is a campaign for back to school 2019/2020 academic year in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon after three years of no school. For over two months, we have seen politicians, some civil society actors and Several Cameroonians preaching and calling on parents to send their children back to school come September.
The back to school campaign has in fact become a major debate topic on most TV and radio programs. Such campaigns and calls may just have been watered down by this decision taken this morning by the Military court.
The International community, Political parties and civil society actors have before now called on the government of Cameroon to release all detained in connection to the Anglophone crisis. Anglophone Cameroonians have not been indifferent to this plea. They had thought that if this was done, it could greatly contribute to solving the crisis.
Their plea has however not been listened to. So what is going to happen next? Will separatists in retaliation intensify the frequency of ghost towns and lockdowns? For how long will people continue to die in these two regions? How long will some of them continue to live in the bushes? Will schools in the two regions remain shut? Is a solution to the crisis foreseeable anytime soon?
These and many more questions must be running through the minds of many Anglophones as they digest this bitter pill.