Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe and Other Detainees Now in Solitary Confinement

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By Ashu Stanislaus (AmbaNews24, Yaoundé, Cameroun)

Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and co in the Yaounde Military Court on January 10, 2019

The Cameroun government on May 13, 2019 moved Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe and other Ambazonian detainees from their regular cells in the Kondengui security prison and put them in solitary confinement. This move is being seen as an escalation of the harsh detention conditions of Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and other Ambazonians who have been in detention in the notorious facility in the French Cameroun capital Yaoundé for over a year now. The Ambazonian political prisoners were abducted in Nigeria and illegally transferred to the maximum-security prison for advocating the rights of the Ambazonian people to self-determination.

In a Press Statement signed by Asongwe Tanyi Nico, a lawyer, and Chairman of the Communication and Legal Committee for the defense team of Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and others, the defense team stated that access to the detainees has been “restricted by the Penitentiary Administration in collusion with the authorities of the Military Tribunal” in Yaoundé. This isolation tactic is coming at a time when the detainees have refused twice to appear before the Yaoundé Military Tribunal arguing that the said court has no jurisdiction over them because, as they had told the court on January 10, 2019, they are Ambazonian citizens who were residing in Nigeria as refugees, not citizens of Cameroun. Furthermore, their multiple previous appearances at the said court have been subjected to countless adjournments without cause and the entire process appears a waste of time to the political victims

On May 14th, 2019, visitors carrying food and medications to the detainees were denied access to the prison. Warders further denied the provision of newspapers with articles on the Ambazonia revolt to anyone in the prison.

The legal defense team has served the Superintendent of Prison via sheriff bailiff for the invasion of the privacy and destruction by prison guards of the properties of one of the detainees, Shu Fai Blaise Sevidzem Berinyuy, in his absence.

A day before Ayuk Tabe and others were forced into solitary confinement, he announced from prison changes to his administrative body following clashes between him and Samuel Ikome Sako who took over Ayuk Tabe’s self-created administration. Ayuk Tabe and nine others were arrested in Nera Hotel in Nigeria on January 5, 2018 and transported to Cameroun where they were held without communication with the outside world for nine months before being transferred to the Kondengui prison. On Friday, March 1, 2019, the Abuja Federal High Court ruled that the arrest and detention by Nigeria National Security Adviser, Major-General Banagana Monguno in complicity with Camerounian authorities was “illegal and unconstitutional”, and ordered the Nigerian government to pay each of the victims 5M naira (US $14,000) as compensation.