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Cameroon government breaks silence on the state of detained separatists

Cameroon’s government broke its silence on the state of anglophone separatist leaders arrested in Nigeria and transferred to Cameroon in early January 2018, on Tuesday, in an interview with the RFI English service.

“All of them are doing very well, all of them are in very good health, all of them are enjoying whatever is enshrined in our constitution,” said Issa Tchiroma Bakary, Cameroon’s government spokesperson.

“They’re enjoying all of their rights,” said Bakary, in a telephone interview. “When all the investigations are completed, they will be charged and brought to book,” he added.

Followers of the detained separatists hold that their lawyers have not been given access to their clients; the Minister addressed that point by saying that whatever processes are ongoing are within the laws of the country.

He accused the detainees of being the brain behind all the chaos that has rocked the Anglophone regions of the country. “They’re engineering, they’re masterminding all what is taking place in the country – assassinations, burning public institutions – you cannot imagine the kind of ordeal our population are submitted to in the northwest and southwest, and they are at the helm,” Bakary went on.

Bakary said he had no idea what charges the separatists would face but suggested the Anglophones could face a military tribunal.

The government previously described the 47 separatists as “terrorists” when they were forcibly deported by the Nigerian government at the end of January.

The group of over 40 detainees include the known leader of the so called interim government of Ambazonia, Sissuku Ayuk Tabe. Their extradition was criticised by the United Nation who called out Nigeria for breaching international law.

The secessionists declared an independent state called Ambazonia Republic on Oct. 1, 2017. Since then, violent scenes that have resulted in loss of lives for both the secessionists and government forces, thousands have been displaced and many rendered homeless.

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