By Tata Mbunwe
Barrister Acha Simon, one of the lawyers defending Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and other jailed separatist leaders, is now receiving treatment at the Bamenda Regional Hospital after he was reportedly kidnapped by members of the Ambazonia Defence Forces, ADF, in Bamenda recently.
He says he was whisked off days ago from his car, beaten, and forced onto a motorbike, which took him to the separatists’ hideout where he was again tortured for three days and nights.
“I was meted the worst beating I have ever had in my life. It all started with three huge guys armed with guns without notice jumping in my car and asking me to give them the keys to my car. As I attempted resisting, they showered blows all over my face. These blows blinded me and I was violently pulled out of the car and asked to climb on a waiting bike. Further resistance earned me heavy-hitting all over my body and especially on my head.
“Sensing danger, I mounted the bike and was driven far out of town. My car was driven along too. I was again severely beaten and blindfolded into a house where I remained in captivity for three days and nights,” he told MMI.
At the Bamenda Regional Hospital, he says he has been responding to treatment from the several wounds he sustained from the torture.
In his confession, Barrister Acha did not say why they kidnapped him, or whether he paid any ransom to be released.
The Senior advocate and owner of Standards Law Firm in Bamenda is said to be one of the leading lawyers defending the group of 10 separatist leaders, including Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, who were slammed life sentences in 2019. They are commonly called the NERA 10.
Barrister Acha Simon is not the first among the NERA 10 lawyers to be kidnapped and tortured. A similar incident occurred on Friday, 30 April 2021 when about 10 heavily armed men kidnapped human rights defender, Barrister Legenju Vitalis around Muea, a locality in Buea.
He was shot in the leg and abandoned by the roadside, while his friend, a teacher, was taken into the bush. Before the incident, Barrister Legenju was the Lead Counsel of a human rights task force, which was defending the NERA 10.