By Mua Patrick, February 2, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Yaounde – Lead lawyer for the defence counsel of detained leaders of the outlawed Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium, Barrister Bernard Achu Muna, told reporters on Wednesday March 1, in Yaounde that his clients have no links with groups advocating secession or independence for Anglophone Cameroon.
Speaking at a press briefing at the Solomon Tandeng Muna Foundation in Yaounde, Barrister Muna who told reporters he was mandated by Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor Balla, Dr. Fontem Neba and Mancho Bibixy to speak, said the trio have stated that they have no links with separatist groups, adding that, what they have been clamouring for is the respect of the basic rights of Anglophones.
Barrister Muna said that the detained leaders have made it clear that the Consortium is not in any type of association with groups to include the Southern Cameroons National Council, SCNC, Southern Cameroons Peoples Organisation, SCAPO, AMBAZONIA, Southern Cameroons Youth League, SCYL, Movement for the Restoration of the Independence of Southern Cameroon, MORISC, Southern Cameroons South Africa Forum or Southern Cameroonians in Nigeria.
“Since this strike by lawyers and teachers started, a lot of other organisations have been trying to take advantage of what is happening in the North West and South West Regions especially organisations that are preaching separation and the
so-called independence of Southern Cameroon. That is why the leader of the banned Consortium therefore asked me to make a statement on his behalf.”
He continued; “Agbor Balla told me that the Consortium has not authorised anybody to sign any agreement with any of those groups. That the Consortium has no links with organisations promoting separation or independence of Southern Cameroons. Anybody negotiating with those groups is not doing so for the Consortium.”
Barrister Muna, who is also former President of the Cameroon Bar Association, said the exchange with the press Wednesday and the declaration stating the stand of the jailed leaders of the banned Consortium, was essential given that “there is a memo already in circulation which says that the Consortium has partnered with those organisations advocating separation.”
Earlier in his preliminary statement to the press, Barrister Muna disclosed that the trial of Agbor Balla, Fontem and Mancho Bibixy is being supported by not fewer than 150 lawyers amongst them, expatriates from Britain and elsewhere. He, however, clarified that during hearings at the Military Tribunal, only about 10 of those lawyers are allowed to speak in defence of the accused persons.
Asked of the stakes and possibility of the detained leaders regaining their freedom in the near future, Muna said since the matter is already in court, it will be prejudicial for him to make comments on the issue. He, however, said the team of lawyers defending the accused is putting up a strong defence to ensure their freedom.
Agbor Balla, Fontem Neba and Mancho Bibixy are expected to appear again before the Yaoundé Military Tribunal on March 23.