By Mua Patrick, January 19, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Yaounde – The President of the now outlawed Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium, Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor Balla who together with his Secretary General, Fontem Neba were arrested in Buea Tuesday, have been ferried to Yaounde where they are most likely to stand trial.
Reasons for their arrest by press time still remained sketchy but The Cameroon Journal has independently gathered that the move is not unconnected with the several Ghost Town operations in North West and South West Regions organised at the behest of the Consortium which they led.
Arrested in Buea in the wee hours of Tuesday evening, Barrister Nkongho who served at the United Nations for several years as a Rights defender was transferred to Yaounde together with Neba by a security -hit- squad. In Yaounde, both leaders of the Consortium, we gathered were subjected to interrogation before thrown into a detention cell at the Secretariat of State for Defence in Charge of the National Gendarmerie known by its French acronym as SED.
Already, The Cameroon Journal has learnt that a group of over 30 prominent lawyers amongst them, Barristers Ben and Akere Muna have teamed up to defend the arrested leaders when indictments come
Since Tuesday’s arrest of the consortium leaders, uneasy calm now reigns in the two English-speaking Regions of the North West and South.
Yesterday, we gathered that Tassang Wilfred, one of the leaders of the Consortium had fled to Yaounde where he is said to be taking refuge at an embassy.
Reports suggest police had made attempts to arrest Tassang Wilfred who had been fronting talks with government on the ongoing teachers’ strike before he fled to the nation’s capital, Yaounde.
The arrest of both Fontem Neba, who recently lost his car in an arson attack in Buea, and Barrister Nkongho Felix, has attracted widespread condemnation from both the national and International community.
On Wednesday, Dozens of Common Law lawyers issued a statement demanding the unconditional and immediate release of both Barrister Nkongho Felix and Fontem Neba
The communiqué issued in Buea yesterday actually followed a stormy meeting the advocates held with South West Attorney General and the Governor, during which it was confirmed that the arrested leaders had been moved to Yaounde.
In a Facebook post reacting to the arrest of the leaders, Justice Ayah Paul Abine wrote: “It is an elementary principle of law that a law, especially a piece of criminal legislation, has no retrospective effect. To put it otherwise, a law that comes into effect today, for instance, does not apply to conduct perpetrated before today – before the first moment the law came into force (the law became law).”
He continued: “To contextualize, the order by the Minister of Territorial Administration is applicable only to conduct subsequent to the moment of its publication. It follows that the arrest of two of the leaders of the Consortium, namely, Barrister Nkongho Felix and Dr. Fontem, is inconsistent with the law. Keeping them against their will, therefore, amounts to false imprisonment. We demand their immediate and unconditional release.”