June 28, 2017
The Military Tribunal in Yaounde will on Thursday June 29 host the hearing of what is now the Balla and co affair. The case that has been adjourned many times over will come again before the presiding Judge, Colonel Abega Eko, Eko.
The court last month decided to remand in custody leaders of the country’s English-speaking community on terror-related charges pending trial.The Military tribunal refused to free on bail Barrister Felix Agbor Nkongho, Dr Neba Fontem Aforteka’a and broadcaster Mancho Bibixy, pending a June 29 trial. The court’s presiding judge also rejected an appeal for the release of 24 other anglophones facing charges over “acts of terrorism” and complicity to commit such acts. Thus opening the way for real business to begin.
Contrary to the view that the incarceration of the Anglophone leaders will dampened the spirit of resistance and commitment to purpose, the leaders who are in good spirit are poised to maintain their stance. During a recent encounter with journalists from the North West region at the Kondengui prison, Dr Fontem Neba said they want to be part of the solutions to the Anglophone problem and are not excited with being released.
Mancho Bibixy however raised worries over the nature of the negotiation. He wonders how fair discussions can take place when he and other Anglophones are in chains.
So far the prosecuting bench has been circumventing the matter probably to frustrate the spirits of those in jail and kill the bond of the struggle. Thursday’s trial is expected to really establish clear evidence that the detainees are guilty of what the state is accusing them . Witnesses are likely to appear at the session that could also have twists and turns.
(UPDATE: “Case adjourned to 27 July because one of the three military judges absent sent on a special mission.” Reason for adjournment. Detained Advocate General Ayah Paul Abine was rushed to the hospital the morning of the hearing suffering from a heart attack, but he has since been recovering. Facebook)