Leaders of Cameroon’s Anglophone separatists to appear in court

Leaders of Cameroon’s Anglophone separatists to appear in court

The joint trial of 10 Anglophone separatist leaders in the West African state of Cameroon will continue today in Yaounde.

cameroon anglophone separatists

Photo: Lambisc

The joint trial of 10 Anglophone separatist leaders in the West African state of Cameroon will continue today in Yaounde.

The defendants have been charged with secession and terror-related crimes. They made their first appearance before the military court on December 6, but the trial was adjourned until today because the state submitted their witness list unduly late.

Since November 2016, the Southern Cameroons region has seen what has been called an “Anglophone crisis”, with the English-speaking population near the Nigerian border harshly criticising the French-speaking Cameroonian controlled government for its lack of attention to poor living conditions and political underrepresentation in the west. What began as political criticism has devolved into a sometimes-violent campaign for secession, with supporters pushing for an independent English-speaking state.

Because today’s trial is taking place in a military court, a guilty verdict for the 10 co-defendants would likely result in the death penalty. Such a draconian sentence would likely create martyrs out of the rebels and stir further unrest in the west. While on the long term the secessionists are unlikely to successfully establish and maintain a state, the unrest in the west continues to pose a serious threat to the stability of the country as a whole.

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