By Bernard Ngalim
Justice Ayah Paul Abine, a former prosecutor at Cameroun’s Supreme Court, in a Facebook post titled “Sentenced to Death” says Cameroon holds Ambazonians in concentration camps, refuses them access to food, and access to justice.
In a Facebook post this May 27, 2019, Justice Ayah Paul Abine unequivocally states Cameroon is holding about 4600 Ambazonian hostages in concentration camps without trial and food thereby sentencing them to death without trial. Basing on statistics from civil society organizations, the former Supreme Court prosecutor wrote: “there are 4.600 Ambazonian youths or mainly Ambazonian youths in the Concentration Camps mistaken for prisons in Cameroon awaiting trial.”
This assertion corroborates Amnesty International’s 2017 report that detailed prison conditions following peaceful protests in Ambazonia. According to Amnesty International, inmates are “packed like sardines in overcrowded prisons following deadly [Ambazonia] protests.”
As far back as 2017, Amnesty International clearly stated these “mass arrests of protesters, most of whom were acting peacefully, is not only a violation of human rights but is also likely to be counter-productive.” Instead of releasing Ambazonian peaceful protesters, Cameroun arrested more and dumped them into their concentration camps.
In a TV interview, Cameroun’s current deputy Justice Minister, Jean de Dieu Momo, affirmed most Ambazonian detainees in Cameroun’s concentration camps are hostages abducted from Ambazonia and ferried to Cameroun for trial. Justice Ayah who was illegally arrested from Buea and ferried to Cameroun, basing on his experience as Prosecutor at the Supreme Court, a former hostage, an inmate in one of the concentration camps, and administrator of the Ayah Foundation clearly states “the court shall take 920 years to try all the Ambazonian youths currently in those camps.” Emphasizing Cameroun’s deliberate attempt to summarily execute Ambazonian youths, the learned man of law laments “imagine how many shall die without even having even been heard” by a court of law. If at all the Military Tribunal can afford justice to Ambazonian hostages held in Cameroun’s concentration camps.
In addition to Cameroun’s abject refusal to guarantee Ambazonians access fair and equitable justice, Ayah elaborates on the violation of their right to food. According to him, he is a victim and has first-hand evidence and knowledge on how Cameroun authorities treat Ambazonians regarding their right to food in detention. Precisely, he states, “I have first-hand knowledge of instances where family members or even just charitable, benevolent organizations have been prevented from taking food to such victims; not any less of cases where persons bringing food to such victims have been arrested and detained arbitrarily, and then compelled to ‘buy’ their freedom.”
Justice Ayah concludes his post by wondering why Cameroun keeps Ambazonian youths in concentration camps, and if Cameroun can detain one million Ambazonians with such impunity. Above all, the experienced judge wonders whether keeping one million Ambazonians in concentration camps will resolve Ambazonia’s quest for independence?