Friday, April 28, 2017

Will Agbor Balla, Fontem Neba & Mancho Bibixy Regain Freedom On April 27 ?

Ever since the trial of three Anglophone activists, notably, Felix Agbor Balla,
Fontem Aforteka'a Neba and Mancho Bibixy opened in the Yaounde military court on Monday 13 February 2017,tongues are wagging as to whether the trio will be able to surmount the 8 count charge levied against them and regain their liberty. 

The trio is again expected in court on 27 April alongside 25 others. Their court appearance this time around will be coming against the back drop of increasing calls for them to be released. The UN Central Africa Representative ,Francois Lounceny Fall in his statement on April 13 said” I encouraged the Government to consider additional confidence-building measures to appease tensions, including the release of the Anglophone leaders, and the full restoration of internet services in the two regions”. 

He also met with people arrested and detained in connection with the situation in the north-west and south-west, including Felix Nkongho Agbor Balla and radio broadcaster Mancho Bibixy The charges against the detained include “acts of terrorism, hostility against the Fatherland, secession, revolution, insurgency, and contempt of the President of the Republic, contempt of the constituted bodies and civil servants, group rebellion, Civil war, dissemination of false news, apology for crimes.”.

The trial of the three activists was originally scheduled to begin on February 1 but was postponed. After preliminary proceedings on February 13 in which the three declared they were not guilty, the case was postponed once more until March 23 to allow the state to present its list of witnesses. "We haven't yet completed our investigations," the prosecutor said. "We are still registering victims."Defense lawyers have complained that the prosecution was flouting the law by failing to hand over their witness list five days before the start of the trial.

The Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium is an organization which backs secession and was recently outlawed by the government. Secessionists are calling for the establishment of an independent state called Southern Cameroons. More than 160 lawyers have lined up in sup

port of the defendants The trio is being tried under a 2014 anti-terrorism law.  Mancho Bibixy, is accused of being a leading secessionist in English-speaking Bamenda, which has become the epicenter of the protests against marginalization. Recently, some followers of the now incarcerated Anglophone activists have been calling for amnesty to be granted to them as a pre-condition for the strike to be called off.

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