A Frenchman was kidnapped in Chad in a remote region near the border with Sudan’s Darfur region early on Thursday, France’s foreign ministry said.
The man was kidnapped south of Abeche, a mining area about 800 km (500 miles) east of the capital N’Djamena, a French military source told Reuters.
There were no immediate reports of any group claiming responsibility or making demands in the area crossed by nomadic groups and rebels fighting the Sudanese government over the border in Darfur.
A source close to the matter said officials were leaning toward a criminal act rather than linking it to militancy.
Europe 1 radio said the man in his sixties had been working for a mining company and was seized carrying the staff’s wages, without giving its sources.
“I confirm that a French citizen was kidnapped in Chad and we are doing everything to find him,” President Francois Hollande told reporters.
“When it comes to hostages it’s best to say the least possible in the interests of the person and the discussions that will take place.”
Madeleine Alingue, spokeswoman for the Chadian government, said search operations were underway.
The last French national kidnapped in Chad was an aid worker taken in the eastern border area in 2009 and released nearly three months later inside Darfur.
The foreign ministry said it was working with local authorities to secure the man’s freedom.
Speaking at the end of his face-to-face meeting with his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella, on 20 March in Rome, the Cameroonian Head of State declared having broached, with the Italian President, the current situation in the North-West and South-West regions, affected by secessionist demands for some months now.
“We have also mentioned the situation in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon. I have assured him of the commitment of the majority of Cameroonians to peace in our country”, declared President Biya. Before specifying: “Our people is attached to two fundamental principles: unity and diversity of the nation. Inscribed in our constitution, they have a tangible value. My government remains open to any dialogue which does not however question the unity and diversity of the country”.
Aside from the situation which is still tensed in the Anglophone areas of Cameroon, the Cameroonian Head of State also talked about the fight against the Islamist sect Boko Haram, in which the Cameroonian army has been involved for several months now. “This obscurantist sect, despite its current weakening, remains dangerous. I have reiterated to the President our gratitude for the support that Italy has given us and continues to give us in this fight. I seize this opportunity to sincerely thank all the other countries and international organisations who have also supported us. This support enables us to face many security, economic, and humanitarian challenges”, said President Biya.
Yesterday March 23 2017, the SDF chairman Ni John Fru Ndi arrived the Yaounde Military court from Bamenda for the hearing on the case of the consortium members and 25 other persons arrested and detained over the Anglophone crisis.
Ni john Fru Ndi describes the reasons for his presence as one that come to consolidate his take and integrity on the teachers/lawyers strike that started some 4 months ago.
The SDF chairman says “I have come to see the detainees; I have come to see those that were arrested; I have come to confirm that we are together because I gave my backing to the teachers and the lawyers”.
Many like Fru Ndi express the same opinions. “We are here to see what will happen to our consortium members and other detainees” says an activist of the struggle. “We want to see them released because they have not committed the crimes put against them” he adds.
Some Anglophone family members of detainees present at the military court say they cannot abandon their brothers.
“My brother was arrest in Bamenda and brought down here. That is why we are here again today. When you touch one of us; then you have touched all of us. We all stand as one big family in this to see to it he is released alongside other freedom fighters.” says an angry family member.
The multi-million dollar question remains: what awaits the detainees? Some say, what has a beginning must have an end and no matter the end result, one thing is sure; Better days are ahead.
The Cameroon Democratic Union CDU party of Adamou Ndam Njoya would like the State of Cameroon to raise the Noun division in the West region to a Region.
This Regional chauvinism is contained in a memorandum by Members of paliament of the CDU, presented at a press conference held at the Hotel des Députes in Yaounde. The party which enjoys overwhelming support from the Noun division states clearly that it is unjust for the division not to be a Region, since it is made up of three quarters of the entire population of the Western Region.
Tomaino Hermine Ndam Njoya, the spokesperson for the MPs, stated that "from the outset there were two Regions in the West: the Bamileke Region, whose chief town was Dschang and the Bamoun Region, whose Noun was Foumban. Today we find ourselves with a Region of eight divisions: the former Bamileke Region displays seven divisions and the former Bamoun Region just one ".
Hermine Ndam Njoya also noted that the Noun is even larger than the seven divisions of the Bamileke Region.
The Mp who is the wife of the party chairman and Mayor of Foumban, Adamou Ndam Njoya pointed out that the situation has a negative impact on the youths and the populations of the Noun who feel marginalized.
The High Court in Mfoundi, Yaoundé has rejected the demand by Lawyers of the imprisoned Advocate General at the Supreme Court, Justice Ayah Paul Abine, for his unconditional liberation.
The Lawyers applied using the Habeas Corpus because according to them Ayah Paul was illegally arrested on January 21,2017 at his residence.
One of the Defense Counsel Barrister Ndong Christopher says by arresting him on Saturday which was a weekend they were doing so in contradiction of the Criminal Procedure Code which forbids arrest of someone on Public Holidays or weekends unless that person is caught red-handed committing a crime.
The lawyers of Ayah Paul have hinted they could apply against the rejection.
This development according to pundits means Ayah Paul may likely be referred to the military tribunal.
The Mfoundi High Court during a closed door court session last week in an informal way charged Ayah Paul Abine with terrorism, secession, propagation of false information and rebellion.
The President of the People Action Party, PAP, has now spent two months in custody at the Defense State Secretariat. His family has recently written to the State demanding his release due to poor health but the request has fallen into answering machine.
The government of Cameroon has come up with a list of witnesses to testify against Consortium leaders and other detained Anglophone activists. Receipt of the list was acknowledged by Barrister Evans Muna of the Muna & Muna Law Firm; leading defence counsel of the detained Anglophone Consortium leaders as reported by senior journalist,
Human rights lawyer Barrister Felix Agbor Balla, university lecturer Dr Fontem Neba and Mancho Bibixy will appear at the Yaounde military tribunal today to answer severe charges of terrorism and secession amongst others.
The activists jailed for organizing stay at home protests known as "ghost towns" against oppression and maginalisation of Anglophones were arrested on January 20, 2017 after the Anglophone Civil Society Consortium was outlawed by the government. Their trial which began last month was delayed without an official explanation. Though state prosecutors said they didn't have their complete list of witnesses.
The Goverment bench has now come up with a list of witnesses who will testify against the jailed leaders. The list we are told was handed to the defense counsel led by Barrister Ben Muna paving the way for fireworks at the tribunal today.
Receipt of the list was acknowledged by Barrister Evans Muna of the Muna & Muna Law Firm; leading defence counsel of the detained Anglophone Consortium leaders.
The witnesses, amongst them, Dr. kinge Njie, Fung John Ngum, Mr. Tala Michael Ndikum; are to testify against Barrister Balla and the other activists at the military junta in Yaounde today.
A college of more than 150 lawyers defending Balla and co have a tough mission of debunking the claims of the witnesses who are alleged to have been coerced by the government just to punish the Outlawed consortium leaders.
Amnesty International is leading mammoth calls for the detained activist to be set free unconditionally. Balla and co could face a death penalty if found guilty.