‘Ambazonia’ leader convicted of charges including terrorism and secession

Ayuk Tabe (left) in military court on Wednesday 20 February 2019

A military court in Cameroon has sentenced the leaders of the ‘Ambazonia’ to life imprisonment after an all-night court sitting.

Julius Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and his cabinet of nine were convicted of charges including terrorism and secession and given a fine of 250 billion FCFA ($350m).

The separatist leaders sang protest songs as the sentence was handed down in the early hours of Tuesday, August 20 at about 5:30 am.

The severity of the sentence has raised fears that the bloody conflict playing out in Cameroon’s anglophone regions between separatist rebels and military forces will be prolonged, and that no ceasefire will be possible.

In January 2018, Ayuk Tabe was arrested with 46 other separatists in a hotel in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, allegedly by Nigerian special forces.

They were then handed over to Cameroon – a move that was ruled illegal by a Nigerian court in March this year.

The defendants refused to recognise the right of the military tribunal in Yaounde to try them. Their lawyers are meeting to draft an appeal, which has to be filed within ten days.

Felix Agbor Balla, a leading human rights advocate in Cameroon, described the decision as a sham which would cause a lot of anger among anglophones.

He said: “Sentencing Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and co will not solve the problems we have in Cameroon. It will instead aggravate the problem.”

Ayuk Tabe, 54, was the first self-proclaimed president of “Ambazonia” – a breakaway state declared in October 2017 in two English-speaking regions of the central African country.

The government responded with a military crackdown.

Nearly 2,000 people are thoughts to have died, and 530,000 have fled their homes.

One of the defence lawyers, Christopher Ngong, said they had asked for the military judge to be recused and had walked out of the hearings in protest at the judge’s decision to continue the case.

He said the court had prearranged the ruling.

Ngong said: “Since they had a hidden agenda, that they were going to pass judgment at all costs, so they went on with the matter, despite the fact that the accused persons were singing songs in court.”

With thousands of children in the crisis-hit areas out of education for several years, the government has been trying to promote a back-to-school campaign.

Many anglophone Cameroonians think this will be jeopardised by the court’s decision and expect the president, Paul Biya, to issue a pardon for the leaders.


Since you are here…

…. we have a small favour to ask. For 21 years The Post Newspaper has been reporting on Local, Regional and National news in Cameroon. Over the years, we are proud to have guided and supported some of the best Journalists in the country and we continue to do so.

The Post newspaper has built its reputation on original Journalism to be the Best and most trusted English language newspaper in Cameroon.

At The Post newspaper, we have advanced our Journalism and embraced innovation and new technology.

To maintain our online presence and keep you up to dates and bring you the full facts on what is real happening in Cameroon, we would appreciate your support.

If everyone who reads our reporting on this platform, who likes it, helps to support it, our Journalists can continue to bring The Post independent journalism to the world.

Every little helps, you can support The Post – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here