Monday, 24 July 2017

Profiling S. Cameroonians in Y’dé Prisons : Detainee 0001, MANCHO BIBIXY, the 'Coffin' Revolutionary

Mancho : The Coffin Revolutionary
Born on 18 August 1984 in Mankon, Bamenda Cameroon, Mancho Bibixy popularly known as BBC, attended PCHS Mankon where he obtained his Ordinary and Advanced Level Certificates. 

He later enrolled into the University of Buea where he studied journalism and mass communication. Before his University studies Mancho did part time radio work for Abakwa FM Radio in Bamenda and the National Broadcaster, CRTV.  

Thereafter, he studied Cisco Certified Networking and completed in 2012 as a CCNA Administrator. He also studied Petroleum Engineering at the Gulf Field Institute, in Limbe although his studies were cut short following his father’s death in October 2013. “He had to come back home and be the family head,” one of his close friends said.From 2014 to 2016 he continued working with Abakwa FM and simultaneously as assistant History teacher in some private institutions, in Bamenda.

Speaking Truth, Bible in Hand
Charges against Mancho
The Cameroon government is accusing Mancho Bibixy of tampering with the integrity of the nation by “demanding the partition of Cameroon through the creation of the State of Ambazonia.”

 He is also charged with trying to use violence to demand a return to Federation and for not being in possession of his Identity card. Alongside Barrister Agbor Balla and Dr. Fontem Neba, they are accused of spreading false information through the social media. Mancho is being detained at the Kondengui Prison in Yaounde since his arrest in Bamenda on January 19 2017.  

Charges Against Mancho
The detention of Mancho for thinking about a federal state and at the same time independence of the Southern Cameroons is an indication that he is a prisoner of conscience. 

“He was abducted and bundled to Yaounde, without being given time to take anything along. It is surprising that he is being accused for not having an identity card,” one of Mancho’s friends explained in anger. Our investigations did not link Mancho to any crime. 

National Refinery, Sonara 
Beliefs on Marginalisation
Mancho is said to have had the desire to understand how Cameroon's crude oil is managed and did some investigations on drilling rigs in the Atlantic Ocean. 

As a radio host, he reportedly conducted several interviews with petroleum barons and many who matter in the petroleum industry and tried to know about the functioning of the National Hydrocarbons SNH, Chantier Naval, and the National Petroleum Depot, SCDP etc during which he reportedly met with several expatriates. It is reported that  he nursed some frustrations when he discovered that Koreans were not allowed to construct the sea port of Limbe. 

He is also said to have feared that there was a clearly worked out plan to completely wipe out Southern Cameroons through discriminative tendencies. “I vowed it will not happen in my lifetime,” Mancho is quoted as saying, before the socio-political upheavals in the Southern Cameroons and his eventual arrest.

Described as very courageous, ‘liberation spirit’ is said to have also made him to have close contacts with other Southern Cameroons liberation activists worldwide. “It was so until 21 Nov 2016 when God commanded me to take the struggle to another level,” Mancho is quoted as saying. 

Disgruntled Southern Cameroonian Youths Protesting: Bamenda Nov 2016 
Expectation from Southern Cameroonians
Like every freedom fighter Mancho recommended sacrifices. “I expect Southern Cameroonians to hold on to this struggle as if that's the only thing they have remaining in this world. 

They must believe strongly in victory against injustice and must also be ready to make huge sacrifices. I expect them to know it will not be easy but it is possible. Very very possible,” he is quoted as saying.

Unity , Coffin Revolution  
Mancho is one of the Southern Cameroons detainees who appear in court very confident as if to say he is quite conscious he is simply a prisoner of conscience. In the wake of attempts by some hidden faces, spreading divisions between the North West and the South West Regions, Mancho responded by appearing at the military tribunal with the traditional regalia of both regions, and openly chanting freedom songs.

Determined Mancho @ Yaounde Military Court : NW Regalia
“Our people must remain united. The idea of the coffin revolution came from my thinking. I thought of several symbols that will speak.  I started eliminating them and ended with a coffin because Southern Cameroonians seem to have died before their real death. No need to be afraid to speak truth to power,” Mancho is quoted as confiding.
He remains the father and brain behind the ‘Coffin Revolution,’ described by many of his followers,  as a peaceful move to bring change in  the Southern Cameroons.  
“Southern Cameroonians are already dead in the hands of the tyranny of La Republic Du Cameroon. There is no need to be afraid anymore. Even of death. That is the reason why I think many of us support the Coffin Revolution. It is a matter of do or die,” narrated a Bamenda based activist who attempts to justify the name given to the revolution. 

Mancho(in white) SW Traditional Outfit
Mancho, the Family Man  
A devout Christian of the Presbyterian Chrurch in Cameroon, he was one of the Elders of the Azire Congregation.    

Mancho as a typical African has a huge family under his care: a fiancé and a son with several dependents to take care of. “My late father upon his death left behind a huge family under my care. I am the sole bread winner but they are learning to sacrifice as I do. 

They also eat once a day as I do, use rain water instead of tap water, use charcoal instead of electric iron, stop use of refrigerator and  microwave just to reduce cost of living and keep up the struggle,” Mancho is quoted as  narrating.

Cleanup Bamenda City
Mancho to Court 
When the peaceful protests started in Bamenda on November 21, 2016,(the day Mancho appeared inside a coffin,)  he told the crowd how frustrated he was to see the city with bad roads no social facilities and dilapidated infrastructure. 

He also pointed fingers at the Bamenda City Council of failing to clear waste that was all over the town.  About a month after the arrest of Mancho, the City Council brought in the Hygiene a Sanitation company which began clearing the waste that was pilled at almost every junction in the main city.

Courage in Humiliation
Close friends to Mancho observed him as someone with his own convictions and who does not hesitate to question what he believes is morally wrong. 

Attempts at Mancho's Life
Mancho was months later handcuffed like a common criminal and brought barefooted to the Military court. The image made him a symbol of the resistance. Mancho, to many analysts remained peaceful and responsible in his approach to demand for equity and justice for Southern Cameroonians. Those who joined him in the peaceful protests that turned violent when forces use water canons on demonstrators in Bamenda shared his views.

He remained very courageous, had a chance to escape but never did so. He reported attempts at his life when security forces clashed with demonstrators in Bamenda and said God kept him alive for a purpose. Mancho's case alongside Barrister Balla, Dr Fontem and 25 others comes up again on July 29 2017.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Southern Cameroons Struggle: Profiling Detainees in Yaoundé's Prisons...Intriguing!

As the struggle for the Restoration of the Independence of the Southern Cameroons continues, one of the issues which has halted the healing process or preventing the country from tearing itself apart, is the popular demand for the unconditional release of all those arrested in connection with the 56 years struggle.  

Notorious Kondengui Prison
Things struggle took a different twist on November 21, 2016, with the demand by teachers and then lawyers for the respect of the Anglo –Saxon Educational and Common Law Legal systems in Cameroon.

This forum has taken upon itself the responsibility to give a face to those arrested and then probe into presumed roles, in socio political unrest in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon herein after referred to as Southern Cameroons.  There are speculations that the Cameroon Government (now popularly known as La Republique du Cameroon, LRC, at least in the Southern Cameroons), might not be able to account for all of them at a point in time. This is against a backdrop of rumors about the existence of mass graves in the Center Region, where some Southern Cameroonians feared dead or killed might have been buried.

From a general observation, those arrested are responsible Southern Cameroonians held down because they were expressing their right for discussions on the nature of the state. Others are for the Restoration of the Southern Cameroons Statehood. Simply put they are prisoners of conscience, given that most of the issues some of them raised are being given attention by the government albeit, halfheartedly. 

These Southern Cameroonian detainees,  however face almost similar charges, notably, hostility against the nation, secession, acts of terrorism, revolution, insurrection, group rebellion, contempt of institutions, inciting civil war, looting, destruction of public property, and spreading of false information.  Curiously, some of them have not been charged or tried, more than five months after their arrest!
In the course of gathering information on each of them, there were outcries of adductions following the Hollywoodian manner in which some of the arrests were conducted.  Several witness and some of the detainees said they were rounded up, blindfolded, handcuffed, chained, worn bullet proofs, before being whisked off from Southern Cameroons to the Republic of Cameroon’s capital, Yaoundé in particular. Some complained they were tortured then locked up under life threatening conditions in the different cells they passed through.  

Buea Prison 
Following interviews with many direct family members, it was observed that some discovered the arrest of their relatives, days after their ‘disappearance.’ This raises concerns as to whether all those arrested reached any of the overcrowded detention centers and makes it difficult to know the exact number of detainees. Besides, the abductions have continued. Worthy of note, the Southern Cameroonian detainees, for the most part are professionals-lawyers, journalists, teachers, trade unionists, opinion leaders and those who dared to question bad governance, decry marginalization of Southern Cameroons and demand reforms.
Their detention location include the Kondengui prison in Yaoundé, the Yaoundé principal prison, the Secretariat of State for Defense in Charge of the Gendarmerie in Yaounde, (better known by its French acronym, SED) the Counter Espionage and Intelligence Services in Yaounde (known in French as DGRE) and then the Bamenda and Buea prisons. It also emerged in the course of investigations that there are many who had been detained prior to the general socio-political crisis that have gripped the two English Speaking Regions of Cameroon for almost eight months, resulting in the shutting down of schools and courts.

Cameroon’s Minister of Communication, Issa Tchiroma, had justified their trial in Yaounde instead of courts in areas where they were arrested or abducted, by arguing that the Military Tribunal (now used to try civilians) had a national jurisdiction. The Cameroon government is using the 2014, ruthless anti-terrorism and cyber criminality laws to prosecute the prisoners of conscience. The law carries a possible death penalty.
Legal luminary Barrister Akere Muna still argues that the detainees should be freed to ease the ongoing tension in the country.  “As regards the detainees and the different trials going on in the Military Tribunal Regions, as well in the courts in the Anglophone regions, against citizens, clerics and prelates, it is important to recall the provisions of Article 64 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code which states: “The Procureur General of a Court of Appeal may, by express authority of the Ministry in Charge of Justice, enter a nolle prosequi, at any stage before judgment on the merits is delivered, if such proceedings could seriously imperil social interest or public order.” This provision of the law describes the exact situation we are in. It is applicable to the ordinary courts. An equivalent provision exists for the proceedings instituted before the Military Jurisdictions. This is section 12 of the Law No.2008 of December 2008 Organizing Military Justice anyone talking about peace and reconciliation in good faith should immediately resort to these provision, to put a halt to the current situation, which is accelerating the country’s glide towards division and conflict,” he stated.

Barrister Akere Muna : Free The Detainees if We Want Peace 
In our first category, we would be profiling those who stood as perceived ‘leaders’ in their own right, to conscientise Southern Cameroonians about their plight and suffering  and the need for the respect of the dignity of the Southern Cameroonian. They are Barrister Agbor Balla, Dr Fontem Neba, Hon Justice Paul Ayah Abine and Mancho Bibixy! But who are the more than 100 Southern Cameroonians held in prisons in the country.
Watch out for more on this same forum!

Monday, 10 July 2017

Southern Cameroons Now Owns a Self- Defense Committee...Read Full Resolutions of 3rd Scacuf Conclave

After almost four days of brainstorming and serious debates, the Southern Cameroons Ambazonia Consortium United Front, Scacuf, one of the front-line movements battling for the restoration of the independence of Southern Cameroons, came out with thought provoking resolutions.

PM's Lodge, Buea, Southern Cameroons
The most striking seem to be the creation of a Self-Defense Committee in the wake of the abduction and arrests of Southern Cameroonians by the government of Cameroon’s security forces.  The  conclave which held between the 7th and 10th of July 2017, reiterated the demand for the unconditional release for those arrested in connection with the socio-political upheavals in the Southern Cameroons.

The Chair-Elect of the Southern Cameroons Ambazonia executive Council, Sisiku Ayuk Tabe Julius, maintained  that, “it would not going to be business as usual”.....

Resolutions of the Enlarged Conclave of the Southern Cameroons Ambazonia Consortium United Front- SCACUF
Delegates of the Southern Cameroons Ambazonia Consortium United Front, SCACUF, meeting in Buea, Southern Cameroons from the 7th to the 10th of July 2017 arrived at the following resolutions:
Sisiku Ayuk Tabe Julius: No Biz as Us
1)    Put in place a governing body comprising an Executive Council, Legislative and Judiciary organs and unanimously elected Sisiku Julius Ayuktabe as Chairman, Mr. Wilfred Tassang- Vice Chairman and Mr. Milan Atam- Secretary General with a mandate to oversee the restoration of the independence of the Southern Cameroons within the shortest timeframe possible. 

2)    Call for the immediate and unconditional release of Barrister Felix Nkongho Agbor Balla, Dr. Fontem Neba, Mancho Bibixy, Justice Paul Ayah Abine, students from various institutions of learning and all the other abductees now languishing in the dungeons of “La Republique du Cameroun”.
3)    Express outrage and condemn the GENOCIDIAL policies of “La Republique du Cameroun” against the peace-loving people of the Southern Cameroons/Ambazonia, and deplored the continued abduction, incarceration and systematic torture of the citizens of Ambazonia in the torture centers of the Yaounde government.
4)    Consequent upon the continuous wanton harassment, extortion, torture, persistent terrorization and abductions of children, women and egregious violations of the inalienable rights and dignity of the people of Southern Cameroons, the Conclave has created the Southern Cameroons Self-Defense Committee to protect lives and property of armless Southern Cameroonians.
5)    Condemn in strong terms the removal and court martialing of civilians in military courts far away from the areas where they were arrested and arbitrary trials of accused persons without legal assistance in a language they do not understand and under a different legal system in total violation of the Banjul Ruling in Communication 266/2009 and other international instruments to which Cameroun is a signatory.
6)    The Southern Cameroons Public Affairs Committee, SCAPAC is the treasury arm of the Southern Cameroons Ambazonia Consortium United Front, SCACUF and restructure the composition of its board of directors.
7)    Adopt a roadmap and approve a budgetary estimate to fuel the restoration agenda


8)    Authorize the putting in place of country branches of SCACUF and decentralize fundraising through the creation of SCAPAC Accounts in other parts of the world.
9)    Create the Southern Cameroons/Ambazonia Education Board and empower it to layout the calendar for resumption of classes and progressively develop a new curriculum more adapted to the Anglo-Saxon education system.
10)           Accept the withdrawal of the Movement for the Restauration of the Independence of Southern Cameroons- MoRISC, USA.

                                          Done in Buea, Southern Cameroons this 9th Day of July 2017
1-    Southern Cameroons National Council- SCNC
2-    Southern Cameroons Peoples Organization- SCAPO
3-    The Consortium
4-    Southern Cameroons Youth League- SCYL
5-    Ambazonia Governing Council- AGC
6-    Southern Cameroonians in Nigeria- SCINGA
7-    Southern Cameroonians in South Africa
8-    The Republic of Ambazonia
9-    Ambazonia Women for Independence- AWFI
10-           Liberation Movement for Southern Cameroons aka Coffin Revolution
11-           SCACUF North America
12-           SCACUF Canada
13-           SCACUF Europe
14-           Eyumojock Self-Defense Force

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Letter from Kondengui Prison : Anglophone Detainees Warn Ongoing Cameroon Parliament….

As the June 2017 session of Cameroon parliament begins in Yaounde  Anglophones in detention at the Kondengui Prison,  arrested in the wake of the crisis in Southern Cameroons have petitioned the people’s representative.

 In a letter from Kondengui prison the detainees lamented the mental and health situation of many, 

and warn that the world would judge parliamentarians if they do not intervene to secure their release.

They vowed to continue their hunger strike until…

Monday, 8 May 2017

Anglophone Crisis: Opposition SDF Party To Boycott Cameroon’s National Day Celebrations (20th May)

The leading opposition party in Cameroon, the Social Democratic Front, SDF,

has announced it would not be taking part in the upcoming National day celebrations, 20th May 2017.

An internal circular from the party’s chairman, Ni John Fru Ndi issued May 7, to party officials,

said the decision is to protest against Cameroon government’s intransigence and inertia.

Though not making direct mention to the ongoing apparent tension in the two Anglophone regions of Cameroon, 

there are indications that the SDF position vis-a-vis crisis that is already in its 7th month, might be a booster to organisations and movements clamouring for the restoration of the independence of Southern Cameroons.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Press Freedom : Committee to Protect Journalists,CPJ, Wants Cameroon to Account for 8 Detained Journalists

The International independent press freedom advocacy organization, the Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ, is demanding explanations from the Cameroon government in relation to the detention of at least eight Cameroonian journalists.

In a statement issued on march 1 2017, the CPJ wants the Minister of Communication to explain reasons for the detention of Atia Azohnwi, Amos Fofung, Thomas Awah Junior, Mfor Ndong, Hans Achumba, Tim Finnian, Jean Claude Agbortem, and Medjo Lewis, imprisoned for their work as journalists.

The CPJ also raised concerns as to why the Cameroon’s Communication Minister, Issa Tchiroma earlier claimed there was no Cameroonian journalist in detention.  

The CPJ buttresses its observation about the detention of journalists, with the National Commission for Human Rights and Freedom’s 2017 report which confirmed the jailing of some media practitioners.

Below is  full CPJ request for clarification from the Cameroon government...

CPJ requests information On Jailed Cameroonian Journalists

March 1, 2017
Issa Tchiroma Bakary
Minister of Communication
Hotel de Ville
Via fax: +237 222 23 30 22;
Your Excellency,
We at the Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent press freedom advocacy organization, are concerned about compounding reports of measures to restrict the media in Cameroon, and request clarification regarding the reported imprisonment of at least eight journalists in the country.
During our conversation on February 15, you told us that Cameroon's government was "completely transparent" and that "people can speak their mind." You further said no journalist was in prison in Cameroon and that journalists should not "pretend to be arrested for their work." You requested that we forward you a list of detained journalists. We did this privately the same day and repeatedly but unsuccessfully attempted to follow up with you directly.
On February 20, the National Committee on Human Rights and Freedoms (NCHRF), an official body, confirmed the detention of at least five journalists. Since then we have heard reports of at least three other journalists jailed in Cameroon. 
We therefore request your assistance in reconciling your contention that no journalists are jailed in Cameroon with the conclusions of NCHRF, and request clarification on the location of the following journalists, any criminal charges against them, what alleged activities gave rise to those charges, and the status of any criminal proceedings against them:
·         Atia Azohnwi, a journalist with The Sun newspaper and the Buea head of the Cameroon Association of English Speaking Journalists, whom security forces arrested with Amos Fofung on February 9, 2017, in Molyko, according to the NCHRF. According to a statement published on The Sun's Facebook page, security forces took Azohnwi, The Sun's political desk editor, to the Molyko precinct and then to the Judicial Police in Buea, before transferring him to the Judicial Police station in Yaoundé.

·         Amos Fofung, Buea bureau chief of The Guardian Post, whom security forces arrested with Atia Azohnwi on February 9, 2017, in Molyko, according to the NCHRF. According to The Sun's Facebook page, police first held him in Molyko before transferring him to the Judicial Police station in Buea, and then in Yaoundé.
·         Thomas Awah Junior, a journalist for and publisher of the monthly Aghem Messenger magazine, whom police arrested in Bamenda on January 2, was transferred to Yaoundé that evening before being sent to Kondengui Central prison two weeks later, a Yaoundé based Cameroonian journalist told CPJ, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution. Awah Junior remains in Kondengui Central Prison in Yaoundé according to a Yaoundé Military Tribunal document published by Cameroonian blogger Albert Nchinda.
·         Mfor Ndong, publisher of the Bamenda-based newspaper Voice of the Voiceless, whom security forces arrested in Buea on February 9, 2017, according to the NCHRF.

     Hans Achumba, a journalist for Jakiri Community Radio in the Bui Division of the Northwest Region of Cameroon, whom police arrested on allegations of spreading opposition lawmaker Joseph Wirba's calls to resist the government in Yaoundé, according to the NCHRF. Achumba remains in Kondengui Central Prison in Yaoundé, according to the Yaoundé Military Tribunal document and a Cameroonian journalist who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity, for fear of retribution.
·         Tim Finnian, publisher of Life Time newspaper, whom security forces arrested on January 27, 2017, three days after he published an article alleging two English-speaking youths had died in state custody, according to an English-language Cameroonian newspaper The Star. He too has been transferred to Kondengui Central Prison in Yaoundé, according to the same military court document and additional Cameroonian journalists who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity, for fear of retribution.
·         Jean Claude Agbortem, co-founder of the online magazine Camer Veritas, whom police arrested on January 28, 2017, according to Nchinda.
·         Medjo Lewiseditor of La Détente Libre, whom police arrested on February 22, 2017, and whom the Bafoussam High Court sentenced to two years in prison and a fine of 10 million Central African francs (US $16,131) for defamation, according to two Cameroonian journalists who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity, for fear of retribution.
In recent months, the government has taken increasingly drastic steps to suppress the rights to transmit and receive information in Cameroon, particularly in predominantly Anglophone regions. Media outlets have been suspended, and journalists have been banned from practicing their craft, according to CPJ research. The internet has been inaccessible to residents of the northwestern and southwestern regions of Cameroon since January 17, 2017--"an appalling violation of [the] right to freedom of expression," as U.N. Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression David Kaye noted on February 10, 2017.
Particularly in light of these measures to restrict the media, we are concerned that Atia Azohnwi, Amos Fofung, Thomas Awah Junior, Mfor Ndong, Hans Achumba, Tim Finnian, Jean Claude Agbortem, and Medjo Lewis are imprisoned for their work as journalists, and respectfully ask that you clarify the reasons for their detention, where they are held, and their current legal status.
 Angela Quintal
Africa Program Coordinator
Sètondji Adjovi, Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights
Dr. Divine Chemuta Banda, Chairman, National Commission of Human Rights and Freedoms in Cameroon
David Kaye, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression 
Simon Lyonga, National President, Cameroon Association of English Speaking Journalist (CAMASEJ)
Moussa Faki Mahamat, African Union Commission Chairman
Michel Tommo Monthé, Permanent Representative of Cameroon to the United Nations
Georges Nakseu, Directeur, Démocratie et Droits de l'Homme, Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie
Denis Nkwebo, President, Cameroon Union of Journalists
Faith Pansy Tlakula, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights