The Cameroonian government finally broke its silence on the state of separatists deported from Nigeria in early January 2018.
In an interview with RFI’s English service, Communication Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary said all detainees were in good health and treated in accordance with the law.
According to the minister, investigations have been ongoing for three months to determine the charges against English-speaking separatists. He also pointed out that they enjoyed all constitutional rights and would probably be tried in a military court.
“They are all very well and in very good health, they all enjoy the rights enshrined in our Constitution, the Republic Law.
This means that, with regard to health, they will receive all the care from doctors or any specialist who can solve the problem they are facing. I would like to stress that everything that is happening now is done in accordance with our law and the criminal procedure, “said Minister Tchiroma.
Since their arrest, supporters of English-speaking separatists have argued that the many attempts by lawyers to assist the arrested leaders have been in vain. In response, Minister Tchiroma said that the ongoing procedures at the level of Cameroonian justice are provided by the law of the country.
For the government spokesman, the detainees would be the brains behind the “chaos” in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon.
“They are very ingenious, they direct everything that happens in the country, the murders, the fires of public institutions, and so on. You can not imagine the kind of hardships to which they subject our people in the Northwest and Southwest, “Issa Tchiroma said.
“The likelihood that they will be tried by the courts is obvious, because as I told you, many people have been killed. Many people have been massacred … the justice system will retaliate, “he added.
The group of detained leaders includes more than 40 people, including the head of government under the fictitious state of Ambazonia Sisiku Ayuk Tabe.
Their extradition was denounced by the United Nations, accusing Nigeria of violating international law.
On 1 October 2017, secessionists declared the independence of the fictitious state of Ambazonia in the English-speaking regions of North-West and South-West Cameroon. Since then, violence in these areas has resulted in several deaths in the ranks of government forces and separatist fighters.
By the end of the First World War, the German Kamerun colony had been split between the French and British allied victors, laying the foundation for a lingering linguistic division.
Anglophones represent less than one fifth of the Cameroonian population, concentrated in the former British territory joined the French Republic of Cameroon the year following its independence in 1960.
Since then, the country’s politics has been dominated by Francophones. The current crisis that has attracted the attention of the international community has become the greatest challenge of President Paul Biya, who is expected to run for the next presidential election by the end of 2018.