By Jerry Omondi
Julius Sisiku Ayuk Tabe was arrested in neighbouring Nigeria and extradited to Cameroon in January 2018 along with 46 other people.
The leader of Cameroon’s anglophone separatist movement, Julius Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, has been sentenced to life in prison alongside nine other people, lawyers said on Tuesday.
Prosecutor Martin Luther Achet said the 10 were convicted of charges including “terrorism and secession.”
Tabe was arrested in neighbouring Nigeria and extradited to Cameroon in January 2018 along with 46 other people.
The 54-year-old was the first self-proclaimed president of “Ambazonia”, a breakaway state declared in October 2017 in two English-speaking regions of the central African country.
Tabe said in May that he was willing to engage the government in dialogue, but set conditions for it, including the release of people detained since the start of the crisis.
Clashes between the separatists and government troops have left hundreds dead and forced nearly 500,000 people to flee their homes, according to independent monitors.
The Anglophone separatists accused the government of bias, allegations the Paul Biya administration rejected.
The government, in a bid to tackle the demands for secession, sent troops to the anglophone regions, a move that angered the separatists and sparked violence.
The unrest has had a negative impact on the Central African country, with reports of an economic downturn in the North-west and South-west regions.
According to the United Nations, some 4.3 million people are in need of humanitarian aid, a 30 percent increase from 2018.