Leader of the anglophone separatist movement in Cameroon, Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, was extradited to Yaounde on Monday after being detained in Nigeria.
Cameroonian government spokesman Issa Tchiroma Bakary in a statement said, Ayuk Tabe, who had been held in Abuja with 46 of his supporters since January 5, was sent to Cameroon.
Tchiroma said, “A group of 47 terrorists, which includes Mr Ayuk Tabe, has been in the hands of the Cameroonian justice system for a few hours,”.
“They will answer for their crimes” before the Cameroonian courts”
“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”.
Prior to their extradition, Ayuk Tabe and nine others had been “held in secret” at a hotel in Abuja, according to their lawyer and Amnesty International.
In mid-January, Amnesty International expressed concern about the separatists detained in Nigeria, saying they could be threatened with torture and (given) an unfair trial if they are extradited from Nigeria.
Over the past year, there has been mounting tension in Cameroon’s Southwest and Northwest regions – home to anglophones who account for about a fifth of the West African nation’s population of 23 million.
English-speakers complain they have suffered decades of economic inequality and social injustice at the hands of the French-speaking majority.
Ayuk Tabe is campaigning for the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon to separate from the French-speaking part of the country.
On October 1 last year, the breakaway anglophone movement issued a symbolic declaration of independence for “Ambazonia”, claiming autonomy over English-speaking regions.