Kesah Princely & Regis Che
Ten leaders of the breakaway Ambazonia Republic who were slammed life jail sentences by the Yaoundé Military Court say their incarceration is a stepping stone to the liberation of their territory.
In a two-page typed letter signed by Ambazonia’s President Sisiku Ayuktabe and 9 others on Saturday August 24, 2019, they described their arrest from Nigeria and deportation to Cameroon as illegal, stating the whole process up to their life imprisonment is a landmark victory to their quest for independence.
To the ten leaders, the recent court verdict is a reflection of sociopolitical, culture and economic nightmare which they said the people of Southern Cameroons have been subjected to since October 1, 1961.
“The pronouncement of a life imprisonment sentence on us by the ‘Tribunal Militaire in Yaoundé’ amidst unbelievable irregularities, is a validation of our self-determination and claim to a sovereign and free Southern Cameroons. This despicable judgement should leave each and everyone of us with no other option than to unite and increase our resolve, fortitude and determination to complete the journey to Buea,” the communique read in part.
While comparing their imprisonment to an alleged military killing of a four-month old baby, Martha Mbu Neba in Muyuka, restive south west region, the incarcerated leaders entreated Anglophone Cameroonians to be united against the regime of President Paul Biya.
“Irrespective of who you are, and what you stand for, we all are nothing but captives, waiting for the opportunity to be slammed such life imprisonment sentences for the fortunate ones, or outright butchering even on your bed,” they decried.
Sisiku Ayuktabe and the nine others were bundled up in Nigeria on January 5, 2018 and kept incommunicado for over 6 months, before they could have access to their family members and lawyers.
After several court adjournments, the Yaoundé military tribunal on August 22 handed them life jail sentences and a fine amounting to CFA 250 billion.
The court charged them of crimes ranging from insurrection of violence agaist the state, separation, and non possession of identification documents.
The Ambazonia struggle for independence which developed into an armed conflict in 2017, is nearing the end of its third year.
Although the detained leaders consider Tuesday’s court ruling a miscarriage of justice, Cameroon’s Communication Minister Rene Emmanuel Sadi thinks differently.
According to the minister, the decision to sentence Sisiku and cabinet to life imprisonment was clear proof that the country has a mature and credible judicial system.
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