Nigeria extradites 47 Anglophone separatists to Cameroon. The president of the anglophone separatist movement in Cameroon, Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and 46 others, were extradited to Yaounde on Monday after being detained in Nigeria, the government said.
Issa Tchiroma Bakary said Julius Ayuk Tabe and 11 others arrested and extradited arrived in Cameroon on Monday. Bakary said the others arrested in Nigeria and extradited were being trained to return to Cameroon and fight.
“A group of 47 terrorists, which includes Mr Ayuk Tabe, has been in the hands of the Cameroonian justice system for a few hours,” Tchiroma said.
“They will answer for their crimes” before the Cameroonian courts, he added, underlining the “determination” of Nigeria and Cameroon “never to tolerate that their territories serve as a base for destabilising activities directed against one or the other
Julius Ayuk Tabe and 11 others were arrested at Nera Hotels Abuja on January 6 and were detained at the Defence Intelligence Agency, said Femi Falana who has been providing legal support for them.
The detainees were largely held incommunicado, which included denial of access to their lawyers, doctors and family members.
However, the deputy representative of the office of United Nations Commissioner for Refugees to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Brigitte Mukanga-Eno, was allowed to visit them in detention last week, Mr. Falana said
Falana said the Nigerian government was ashamed to announce the deportation, which is being celebrated by Cameroonian authorities as a major victory in their clampdown on Tabe and other leaders of the self-proclaimed Ambasonia state in English-speaking parts of Cameroon.
Violence in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions has intensified amid a government crackdown on supporters of the secessionists, who call their area the Republic of Ambazonia.
The Anglophones of Cameroon feel marginalised. Their frustrations surfaced dramatically at the end of 2016 when a series of sectoral grievances morphed into political demands, leading to strikes and riots.
English-speakers account for some 20 percent of the nation’s population of 23 million. The minority dates to the emergence of Cameroon in 1960-61 as France and Britain wound down their colonies in west Africa.
Anglophones have long protested against what they perceive to be a bias in favor the French-speaking majority.
Since November 2016, resentment has fed demands for autonomy or a separate state to which the government has responded with a crackdown, including curfews, raids and restrictions on travel
The October crackdown in towns and villages along Cameroon’s border with Nigeria caused at least 7,000 people and possibly as many as 20,000 to flee into Nigeria’s Cross Rivers state, where the UN refugee agency is bracing itself for the arrival of 40,000 more.