Cameroon – Anglophone crisis: After lasting for just 5 minutes, the trial of the leaders of the Anglophone protest postponed to 27 July 2017

Written by Deckson N.

Thursday’s hearing in the military court of the Cameroonian capital Yaounde lasted only five minutes. A postponement for July 27 was announced due to the absence of one of the assessors.

The trial of Felix Agbor Nkongho, a lawyer, Neba Fontem Aforteka’a, a teacher, and Mancho Bibixy, a radio broadcaster known as “BBC“, and 24 other Anglophone activists in Cameroon, will resume on 27 July, due to the absence of one of the assessors, said the president of the college of judges.

Thursday’s hearing in the military court of the Cameroonian capital Yaounde lasted only five minutes, found an AFP journalist. The hearing of the first prosecution witnesses was originally scheduled for Thursday, in this trial which began at the end of March.

The activists are tried for “co-action of acts of terrorism, hostility against the country and rebellion“, according to the indictment. All the accused returned to prison. On 7 June, their applications for interim release were rejected.

Felix Agbor Nkongho and Neba Fontem Aforteka’a are the leaders of the Anglophone civil society consortium (CACSC), a movement banned in January by the authorities following a call to strike in the English-speaking areas of the country. Since November 2016, the anglophone minority – about 20% of the Cameroonian population estimated at 22 million – protests against what it calls its marginalization.

The lawyers’ strike, followed by that of the teachers of the English-speaking regions, degenerated into a socio-political crisis in the two English-speaking regions which are the south-west and north-west of the country. Some anglophones demand a return to federalism while others demand the partition of the country.

If the courts have resumed in places after being suspended, the courts remain paralyzed and the internet was cut for three months by the Cameroonian authorities. Rejecting these demands, the government of President Paul Biya has strongly suppressed the dispute that affects the two English-speaking regions (out of the ten of the country).

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Deckson N.

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