By Ashu Stanislaus
AmbaNews24 Correspondent – Yaoundé, Cameroun
The Ambazonia Governing Council has declared Monday, July 29 to Tuesday, July 30, 2019 as National lockdown days in Ambazonia to protest the inhumane conditions and brutal way Camerounian authorities are treating the hundreds of Ambazonian citizens who are in their captivity as prisoners of war and conscience. In press statement AGovC/OP/0101/PR signed by the President of the Governing Council on July 26, 2019, Dr. Cho Ayaba says the lockdown is an act of national solidarity with more than three hundred Ambazonian prisoners who have been tortured and whisked from the Kondengui prison in Yaoundé and Buea central prison to various dungeons by the Cameroon government. The call for a national lockdown of the entire Ambazonia territory that can be compared to a national day of mourning has also been echoed and supported by Yerima Debney, the Vice President of a self-appointed faction of the Seseku Ayuk Interim Government. The Statement issued by Yerima further calls on the Ambazonian diaspora to participate in the solidarity move by holding public demonstrations in front of Cameroon and/or France embassies worldwide over the next few weeks. It also demands the immediate and unconditional release of the illegally detained citizens of Ambazonia.
In the press statement, Dr. Ayaba is outraged about the brutality of Camerounian authorities. In a very firm tone, he demands the end of this barbaric activities by the dictatorship in Yaoundé: “The Republic of Cameroun believes that. . . the Ambazonian people have no dignity and deserve none. The government of Cameroon holds firmly in its words and actions that it can maim, torture and kill the citizens of Ambazonia as it wishes without consequences. The cycle of tyranny and impunity against the Ambazonian people as reflected in the recent events in Kondengui and Buea Central prisons must end!”
“On July 22, 2019, the Cameroun government unleashed its military on peaceful Ambazonians locked up in Kondengui concentration camp and in Buea as prisoners of war and conscience,” the statement reads. The President of the Governing Council of Ambazonia adds that, their fellow Ambazonian “citizens were protesting against the barbarism and torture Cameroon has subjected them to. In its response, the Cameroon government beat up many mercilessly and whisked off more than three hundred of our young men into multiple torment chambers where they are being tortured, and held without access to their family, friends and lawyers. The SED dungeon and other filthy captivity camps have become the modern-day colosseum where Cameroon government forces and officials amuse themselves with the pain, cries, blood and death of Ambazonians despite the hospitality that we give to Cameroonians in our own territory.”
According to the Press statement, this declaration is a fourth step in a series of actions by the independence seeking movement in concertation with other liberation movements of the Ambazonia. The Governing Council, the press statement said has “consulted with multiple leaders of other movements in our liberation struggle,” and has taken important steps in the international relations circles against the actions of Cameroon in Yaoundé and Buea. The statement also draws the attention of multiple human rights organizations to the ongoing enforced disappearances and torture of Ambazonians in Cameroon prisons.
The statement calls strongly Ambazonians and foreign nationals in the Ambazonian territory to respect the lockdown; “All citizens of Cameroon and foreign nationals in Ambazonia should take this seriously. Other actions shall follow this lockdown until the Cameroon government accounts for every Ambazonian who was in Kondengui,” the statement concludes.
Meanwhile the Ambazonia Defence Forces (ADF) has warned that its forces will be out there to enforce a complete respect of the National Lockdown. The Chairman of the Ambazonian Defense Council, the supreme organ of the ADF, Benedict Kuah has in a social media video presentation warned that its forces will be patrolling the streets of Ambazonia to make sure that the lockdown is completely followed.
Elsewhere, Ambanews24 has been reliably informed that human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch have contacted and spoken with almost all foreign embassies in Yaoundé, Cameroon calling for their intervention to protect and promote the rights of the Ambazonian prisoners of war and conscience.
AmbaNews24 is investigating the veracity of reports it has received from sources in Yaoundé that four Ambazonian prisoners have died from the torture. However, AmbaNews24 has confirmed from reliable sources within the Cameroun military and penitentiary that some of the victims whisked out of Kondengui are lying with torture wounds on water filled floors inside underground dark cells in the Gendarmerie headquarters known as SED in Yaoundé. The Cameroon soldiers also removed some from their cells in Kondengui overnight and took them to the base of the presidential guard affiliated Gendarme Special Intervention Unit commonly known in French as Groupement Spécial d’Opération (GSO). The whereabouts of many others remains unknown. Among the hundreds currently unaccounted for are Adepke Benjamin Tantoh, Njimgang Nelson, Mancho Bibixy, Conrad Tsi, Ngalim Felix, and Penn Terence. The actions of Cameroon violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which provides that “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” The treatment of Ambazonians in the Kondengui prison defies the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The brutal response of Cameroon to the protest, reminiscent of the response it gave to the peaceful protests led by Ambazonian lawyers and teachers in 2016 – a response that provoked the ongoing armed conflict – further contravenes the Geneva Convention that Cameroon has ratified. This Convention protects prisoners of war and civilian detainees against any act of violence, intimidation, humiliation and cruelty. The response of the Cameroon government breaches the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of all Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment. It totally disregards the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.