YAOUNDE, Nov. 1 Xinhua | Ten leaders of a separatist movement seeking independence of the English-speaking part of Cameroon appeared at the court of appeal of Yaounde on Thursday after a 10-month detention.
“They (separatist leaders) have never appeared in any court since they were arrested in Nigeria on the 5th of January. So this is the first opportunity for them to tell their story to a court,” the accused’s lead counsel, Fru John Nsoh, told reporters Thursday after a brief hearing of the case.
Among the leaders was Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, president of the self-declared breakaway state called “Ambazonia,” made up of the Northwest and the Southwest, two English-speaking regions of Francophone-majority Cameroon.
Nsoh argued that the detention was illegal.
“They were abducted not even arrested, taken from a foreign country and brought into Cameroon and detained incommunicado for about 10 months. Those are the issues that we raised,” Nsoh said.
Tabe and 46 other separatist activists were arrested in Nigeria in January and extradited to Cameroon, but only 10 of them have appeared in public, according to Nsoh.
The case was scheduled for ruling on Nov. 15, said Nsoh.
Cameroon government forces and armed separatists have been clashing since October 2017 after the separatists declared the “independence” of the two Anglophone regions.
Over 150 security forces have been killed, according to the Cameroon army. The number of civilians and armed separatists killed in the clashes is not immediately available.