CAMEROON: separatist leader’s lawyer unable to see him, govt mute

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According to lawyer Abdul Oroh, he has been unable to communicate with his client who he says is being illegally held by the government.

Yaounde confirmed early this week that Ayuk Tabe and 46 others had been extradited from Nigeria and that they had been handed over to the judiciary for the necessary processes.

Nigeria and Cameroon have no extradition treaty, they do not have that relationship, and these people are not terrorists.

Speaking to the BBC Focus on Africa Radio the lawyer said he has written to several authorities including the national security chief and defense ministers but has yet to get a response.

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He also expressed worry that the Nigerian authorities who arrested Tabe and others had also been tight lipped on the matter. “Nigeria and Cameroon have no extradition treaty, they do not have that relationship, and these people are not terrorists.”

Seseku Ayuk Tabe
He slammed Cameroon’s Information Minister, Issa Tchiroma-Bakary for referring to the arrested nationals as terrorists in his statement announcing their deportation earlier this week. He has also demanded that his client and the others be released.

Ayuk Tabe is widely referred to as the leader of the Republic of Ambazonia – a group in Cameroon’s Angolphone region, pushing for a breakaway from French-dominant Cameroon. Its defense wing has claimed responsibility for deadly attacks on security officials deployed to the region.

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The group said it classified all security personnel – be they soldiers, gendarmes or police as occupiers of their land. Over a dozen officers have been killed in guerilla style attacks especially at checkpoints.

Tabe and six others were arrested in a hotel in the Nigerian capital Abuja in early January. Reports differed over whether they were arrested by Cameroonian operatives or Nigerian security.

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Nigeria’s Department of State Security is believed to have been behind the raid leading to their arrest. He was one of fifteen others who Cameroon issued an international arrest warrant for in November 2017.

Ayuk, a former businessman who had lived in Nigeria, is seen as a moderate voice in the separatist movement and has in the past promoted dialogue over violence.

Nevertheless, he has been the target of Cameroonian authorities as a leading member of a resurgent movement to break away from French-speaking Cameroon.

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