Anglophone separatists insist they are not Cameroonians
Killian Ngala Chimtom
BBC Africa, Yaoundé
Anglophone separatists insisted they were not Cameroonians as they appeared in military court today.
When asked what their nationalities,
each ten of the defendants answered the same:
"I am not a Cameroonian. I am an Ambazonian."
Ambazonia is the name of the state separatists have been
fighting to establish for two years now. Many English speakers accuse the Francophone majority of discrimination.
The 10, including leader Sisiku Ayuk Tabe Julius, are accused of terrorism, secession,
civil war and revolution, among other charges.
Their court case today was adjourned because the defence argued
that the prosecution were too late to submit a list of witnesses.
It will continue on 10 January.
Cameroon drops charges against anti-Biya activists
Killian Ngala Chimtom
BBC Africa, Yaounde
A court in the Cameroonian city of Douala has dropped
charges against 52 opposition supporters who had been
protesting against the re-election of 85-year old President Paul Biya.
Opposition candidate Maurice Kamto of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (MRC) party, disputes the official results, alleging widespread fraud.
The activists had been in detention since October, all expect Barrister Michelle Ndoki, a senior MRC official.
He told the BBC that the public prosecutor dropped
the charges “on the instructions of the minister of justice”.
It was a relief that sometimes “things can go right”
in Cameroon, he said.
But he added that the “trumped-up charges only
illustrate that freedom of speech, and freedom generally, is still a problem
The 52 had been accused of “insurrection” and holding “illegal
demonstrations that threatened to disrupt public order” and if found guilty
could have faced long jail terms.
Meanwhile, the case against journalist
Michel Biem Tong - who was due to appear before a military court on charges of insulting
the head of state, propagating false information and terrorism - has been
adjourned until 2 January.
The director of
the Hurinews site was arrested on 23 October after he was suspected of making
WhatsApp recordings calling on Anglophone separatists to resist the government.
Mr Biya, in power
since 1982, won a seventh term with 71.3% of the vote on 7 October.
But voter turnout was
low in the country's two English-speaking areas - where people complain of marginalisation. The North West and South West regions have been hit by more than a year of violent protests and attacks by
About 200 stalls have been destroyed by a huge fire which ripped through a market in Cameroon's main English-speaking city, Bamenda, reports BBC Afrique's Frederic Takang from the scene.
The cause of the fire at the Food Market is unclear.
The government blamed a fire at the market last year on separatists demanding independence for Cameroon's English-speaking regions. The separatists say English-speaking Cameroonians face discrimination, and are fed up of being part of a country ruled for more than 35 years by French-speaking President Paul Biya.
The government accuses the separatists of being "terrorists" threatening the central African state's unity.