Cameroon separatist leader goes on trial for 'terrorism'

2018-12-07 06:03


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

A separatist leader from the anglophone west of Cameroon went on trial Thursday on charges of "terrorism" and "secession" over unrest that has claimed hundreds of lives.

Julius Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, president of the self-declared "Republic of Ambazonia", was arrested in neighbouring Nigeria and extradited to Cameroon in January this year along with 46 others.

The military court in the capital Yaounde is trying Ayuk Tabe and nine co-defendants on charges of "condoning and financing terrorism" as well as insurrection and "hostility against the motherland".

Cameroon's 22 million people are mainly French-speakers, but around a fifth are English-speaking, concentrated in the Northwest and neighbouring Southwest regions of the West African country.

Resentment at perceived discrimination against anglophones in education, the judiciary and the economy fanned demands for autonomy in 2016.

Then last year, as longtime President Paul Biya refused any concessions, radicals declared the independent state of Ambazonia and took up arms.

Attacks by the secessionists and a crackdown by the authorities have led to the death of at least 500 civilians as well as more than 200 members of the security forces, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG).

More than 300,000 people have fled the violence, many of them living hand-to-mouth in the forests, and some across the border into Nigeria.

Clashes persist on a near-daily basis.

Ayuk Tabe and most of his co-defendants make up the political wing of the separatist movement, advocating negotiation with Yaounde.

The court rejected a demand for Ayuk Tabe's release from detention in mid-November.

The trial was adjourned Thursday to January 10 to allow the defence - comprising more than 80 lawyers - to study the charges.

The prosecution plans to call 70 witnesses, according to a list seen by AFP.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

Read more on:    cameroon  |  west africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.