Nigerian intelligence official on Sunday denied arresting Cameroon separatists in Abuja. The DSS denied arresting Tabe in Abuja, saying instead that in late December they arrested Cameroonians in eastern Taraba state who were suspected of being involved with the separatist movement.
“There is nothing like that,” a top DSS official told AFP, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
“There is no arrest of their people in Abuja,” he said.
“There was a joint operation carried out in Taraba on the 31st of December 2017 where Cameroonians were arrested,” he said.
“We saw most of them as refugees but when the Cameroonian authorities heard of the arrest, they protested to the inspector general of police that those people arrested were part of the people giving them trouble as secessionists.”
Julius Ayuk Tabe, the Nigeria-based chairman of the Governing Council of Ambazonia separatist movement, was taken into custody alongside nine others at a hotel in Abuja on Friday, said an official in the west African country and a member of the separatist group in Cameroon.
“They were picked up yesterday by the SSS. They (SSS) came with guns and ammunitions to the hotel when they took them away. They arrived for a meeting of the high command of the leadership of the Ambazonia republic scheduled to hold at the hotel,” our source said.
Tabe heads the Interim Government of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia, after the Anglophone Southern Cameroon declared independence from Republic of Cameroon, which is the francophone part of the country, last year. In November, he named a series of secretaries into the interim national government. But the declaration of independence has not been recognised by the United Nations or any country.
Abducted along with Tabe, according to the statement, were Dr. Nfor Ngala Nfor, who is the chairman of the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC), Dr. Fidelis Nde Che, Dr. Henry Kimeng, Prof. Awasum, Dr. Cornelius Kwanga, Mr. Tassang Wilfred, Barrister Eyambe Elias, Dr. Ojong Okongho and Barrister Nalowa Bih.
It also said the meeting was scheduled to discuss the Southern Cameroon’s Refugee crisis in Nigeria and to galvanise relief support for housing, medical and feeding in anticipation of the approaching rainy season
The sessionist movement are pushing for Cameroon’s two English-speaking regions to break away from the francophone country. On October 1, they issued a symbolic declaration of independence for “Ambazonia”.
The anglophone minority dates to the emergence of Cameroon in 1960-61, as France and Britain wound down their colonies in west Africa.