By Epie Brian
Cameroon’s governments under president Paul Biya is bearing down on separatist movement fighting for the rights of a minority English language region using as its weapon a sweeping new anti-terrorism law introduced in 2014.
The Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC) which is demanding an independent southern Cameroons made up of Cameroon’s northwest and Southwest regions has been targeted under the new law, which forbids public meetings, street protests or any action that the government deem to be disturbing the peace.
The draft law also prescribes the death penalty for persons who carry out any activity which can lead to a general revolt of the population or disturb the normal functioning of a country.
The anti-terrorism law has sparked a wave of criticism and many political analyst sees this as a means to silent dissent most especially SCNC activists and opposition parties.
The 2014 anti-terrorism law has been enacted to terrorise the people of Cameroon especially SCNC activists and possibly killing their freedoms.
The law is also against the fundamental liberties and rights of the Cameroon people most important SCNC activists who are clamouring from a complete separation from French Cameroon and with the formation of a new nation now known as Ambazonia.
In effect, the 2014 anti-terrorism law has significant deficiencies .most importantly the offences that constitute ’’act of terrorism’’ are not clearly defined, there is no limitation that a person can be held in custody or its extension is required and no preliminary inquiry is required to submit a person to the military tribunal for trial. Also the offences provided for in this law shall fall exclusively under the jurisdiction of military tribunals.
However the case of barrister Agbor Balla, Dr fontem Neba, Bibixy Mancho, Ngalim felix and other Anglophone activists only serve to illustrate the negative impact of the lack of protection of human rights defenders and the exercise of military jurisdiction over civilian cases.
Over one thousand Anglophones especially SCNC activists are being incarcerated all over french Cameroon and the 2014 anti terrorism law applied on their cases. Many of them have been jailed for 13-17 years in prison using articles from this law. Examples of Anglophone Activists incarcerated using this law include Bibixy Mancho, Penn Terrence etc who have been jailed 15 years respectively by the military court in Yaoundé-Cameroon using the anti –terrorism law. Done by epie Brian Nzalle SCNC activist UK
Comrades Epie and Roland at Downing street for demonstration