National and International News Roundup – August 20th 2019

  • Opposition, civil society lash at government over life sentence of Ambazonian leaders
  • Fears of another boycott of the school year in Anglophone Cameroon
  • Mother and daughter drown in Meluf river
  • 24 die in Burkina Faso attack

1 Most inhabitants of the anglophone regions of Cameroon think government does not want schools to resume this September. To these categories of people, the verdict of the Yaoundé Military Court this morning sentencing interim leaders of Ambazonia to life in prison and financial fines can be compared to adding fuel to fire. To these people, they expected a court decision that was to appease those that have lost both material and humans in the course of the war.

2 Lawyers defending Ayuk Tabe Julius Sisiku and Co have described the verdict today as a slap on the face of justice in Cameroon.  They regret that the interim leaders were sentenced this morning without their lawyers. The lawyers resigned as defending lawyers when the court refused to keep aside a judge (Lt. Col. Njone Jacques) they had earlier recused. By this action, the lawyers expected the judge to adjourn the case until a new competent and acceptable judge is appointed.

3 Journalists reporting on the crisis in the North West and South west regions of Cameroon fear the adverse effects of the verdict sentencing Ambazonia interim leaders to life jail. To most of these journalists the security situation will have improved and some schools re-opened if the verdict was free and fair.

4 The Network for the Defense of Human Rights in Central Africa RHEDAC has condemned the life jail sentence verdict of Ambazonia interim leaders proclaimed this morning by the military court in Yaoundé. Maximilien Ngo Mbe coordinator of RHEDAC says the verdict contradicts tweet messages of forgiveness and reconciliation posted in the month of May by President Paul Biya. Besides that, RHEDAC thinks the verdict will instead frustrate ongoing campaigns for back to school 2019/2020 in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon.

5 Most opposition political parties in Cameroon have condemned the verdict of the Yaoundé Military Court on Ayuk Tabe Julius and Co. To Prince Michael NGWESE Ekosso, leader of the United Socialist Democratic Party, USDP, the verdict is an affront to due process and the rule of law.

6 To Frank Esi, Secretary General of the Cameroon People’s Party, the verdict is a barrier to school resumption that has been trumpeted by government officials. The CPP in a release this evening continues the call for a political transition in the absence of President Paul Biya.

7 It is a sad day in Meluf, Kumbo Bui Division in the North West region of Cameroon following the discovery of two corpses along the banks of River Fondzev. A woman, 53, and her 20-year-old daughter died while trying to cross the river. This brings the number to 3 persons that have died in the river in five years.

8 Cameroon’s Minister of Urban Development and Housing has been appointed Board Chair of the Cameroon Real Estate Company.  Celestine Ketcha Courtes was appointed today to oversee the activities of the company.

9 Campaign group Human Rights Watch (HRW) says Cameroon’s authorities held more than 100 detainees incommunicado and tortured many of them, following a riot in one of the country’s biggest prisons. Last month inmates set fire to parts of Kondengui maximum security prison in the capital, Yaoundé, and some even live-streamed on Facebook the initial protest from their mobile phones.

10 The military in Burkina Faso says the number of soldiers killed in a suspected jihadist attack on Monday has risen to 24. Dozens of militants are reported to have stormed the army base in northern Soum province. This is believed to be the heaviest loss the army has suffered in its campaign against Islamist militias. Burkina Faso’s main opposition party has called on the government to resign.

11 A Rwandan brewery has apologized to those upset by derogatory jokes about women printed on its beer labels. One of the jokes appearing on the bottles of Skol beer says: “When can a woman make you a millionaire?” The answer: “When you are a billionaire.”

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