The presidential enlargement measure of members of the separatist forces was made public on Thursday, December 13, 2018. President Paul Biya "decided (...) to stop the prosecution pending before military courts against a number of arrested for crimes committed in the context of the crisis in the north-west and south-west regions," said a statement signed by the Secretary General of the Presidency of the Republic, Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh.
The arrest of the lawsuits concerns 289 people, one learns. However, the vagueness remains as to the identity of the persons concerned by the leniency measure.
In any case, "this decision of the Head of State proceeds from his desire to allow those of our young compatriots in these two regions, eager to renounce violence and return to the right path to be able to participate again in the great work of national construction," adds the Presidency statement.
A decision that is part of the process of appeasement initiated by the Head of State since his inaugural speech on November 6 last. This willingness to appease had already resulted in the creation of a National Committee on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration of former Boko Haram fighters and armed groups in the North-West and South-West Regions.
The measure taken by the Head of State in the context of this crisis is not new. On August 30, 2017, Paul Biya ordered the prosecution of KA leaders in these areas of the country. The measure concerned Sikhs Nkongo Felix Agbor, Fontem Aforteka'a Neba, and Paul Aya Abine, among others, considered as the main leaders of the so-called "Anglophone" protest.
However, other leaders, including Sisuku Ayuk Tabe, self-proclaimed President of the Virtual Republic of Ambazonia, were apprehended and brought to justice. The trial of a dozen of them was opened at the Military Tribunal of Yaoundé last week, before being sent back to January 10? Will they be affected by this decision? No information has filtered about it.
In any case, it is another gesture of appeasement of the Head of State which may open the way to an inclusive dialogue and the gradual return to peace in areas where at least 700 civilians and military, have been killed since the beginning of the armed conflict in October 2017. While more than 300.00 people have had to flee their homes and 60,000 have fled to neighboring Nigeria.