The MP for Bafut, (Tubah-Bafut Constituency), Hon. Fusi Naamukong, has written an emotionally charged letter to the Northwest Governor, Adolf Lele L’Afrique invoking the administrator’s swift intervention to stop what the MP describes as gross violation of the rights of Anglophone citizens.
He cites torture, kidnapping, victimisation, persecution and extortion as some of the human rights abuses being perpetrated by the military in the Northwest.
Read the full petition on page…
It is with a heavy heart that I write to your high office in respect of the continuous and gross violation of the rights of the people within the constituency which I represent.
As Member of Parliament for Mezam North (Tubah-Bafut Constituency), I owe a duty not only to ensure that members of my constituency are law abiding and peace loving but also to promote development and social justice in the Constituency.
It is acknowledged that since the commencement of this crisis in the Northwest and Southwest Region, I have ensured that my people do not indulge in actions that will compromise the peace and unity of our dear fatherland. It is against this backdrop that I expect our military officers and the rank and file, to conduct them in such a manner as to maintain peace, order and social justice in the community but this has not been the case.
Our military has transformed themselves into forces of torture, kidnapping, victimization, persecution, extortion of funds from helpless inhabitants, which action denies our people of their fundamental rights. Most often than not my people have been arrested without any warrant, subject under investigations by military regiment not charged with investigation of crimes in the community. Many are in the hospital suffering after being brutalized and left helpless by the presumed forces of law and order. These violations can only be seen in times of war.
Such was the case involving Mr.Ambe Joseph Nkwah, popularly known (Joe and Bros), a businessman of high integrity who left Bafut on Sunday 5 of February 2017 en route to Bamenda after watching the half of the African Nations Cup finals, between Cameroon and Egypt. Somewhere at Mile SixMankon, he noticed that he was being trailed by a pick-up at a very high speed with double trafficators and this was about 9:30 pm.
While suspecting that the driver must have been drunk or it was an emergency, he cleared a few meters away from Star Hotel Mankon, to allow the said vehicle to drive past. He was astonished that the occupants of the vehicle, whom he identified as BIR elements armed with guns blocked his vehicle, alighted from their pick-up and reaped him out of his vehicle and started brutalizing him until he defecated and urinated in his pair of trousers. He was blindfolded to block his visibility, handcuffed and drop behind the BIR pick-up van with the forces using his entire body as a foot mat. The more he cried, the more he was tortured. He could only follow the sound of the vehicle as it drove off while lying helplessly on the floor of the pick-up.
They drove with high speed and he later discovered himself at the BIR camp in Bafut when they took off the black mask covering his face. He was masked again on the second part of the journey to Up-Station. While at Up-Station they asked him to which trade union he belonged and he told them that he was not a teacher, that he was a businessman and that they should verify from his documents which they had in their possession. As they kept on torturing him, he would not stop asking them what he had done to warrant this inhuman treatment.
They threatened him, saying that if he continues to ask these questions, they will kill him. While at Up-Station, he discovered that they took along his vehicle; there was a standby vehicle waiting to transport him to Yaounde. He was taken in the cell at the Gendarmerie Legion Up-Station Bamenda, where he was interrogated and when they realized that they had arrested the wrong person, they simply transferred him to Gendarmerie Groupement Up-Station where he was detained in the cell.
The elements in this unit also accused him of distributing tracts, a charge which he refuted by saying that he was not a teacher and could not write tracts. Then after finding it difficult to hang any charge on him, he was unconditionally released on Tuesday without any apology.
Mr.Ambe Joseph Nkwah consulted at the hospital, where he was treated and is still on drugs. The panic and fear brought to the family throughout the night of the arrest cannot be overemphasized as the entire family was placed under trauma as the wife, the children and his friends went for a man hunt till the next day at 12 midday when he was discovered at the cell.
Your Excellency, Cameroon is certainly a state of law and it is difficult to view such flagrant violations of the fundamental rights of citizens without corresponding redress to such criminal actions. Mr.Ambe Joseph Nkwa practically did nothing to warrant this inhuman treatment. He has never been convoked to appear on a complaint and he failed to do so. Why would such measure of brutality be unleashed on a law abiding citizen?
It is my considered belief that as the Chief Executive Officer of the Region and the Operational Commanding Officer of the various military units within this Region, it behoves on you not only to call this elements of BIR to order but also to cause disciplinary actions and criminal sanctions to be meted out on them.
Our Governor, help us by ending this undeclared state of emergency. Stop this continuous arrest of teachers and civilians for peace to reign. A good society does not flourish on injustice and it is my humble belief that until justice is done or seen to have been done, those officers will remain haunted by our prayers.
Accept your Excellency our highest regards while waiting for your interventions and prompt action.
Yours Sincerely Hon. Fusi Naamukong W.
Cc: *National Commission For Human Rights and Freedoms Bamenda *The Honourable Procureur General PG Northwest *The SDO Mezam