Cameroon’s minister of communications says 47 suspected separatists and leaders of a group that declared the independence of English-speaking regions have been extradited from Nigeria.
Issa Tchiroma Bakary said those extradited arrived in Cameroon on Monday. He said among them were Julius Ayuk Tabe, who in October proclaimed himself the president of Ambazonia. Tabe and nine others were arrested in Abuja, earlier this month.
Bakary said the others arrested in Nigeria and extradited were being trained to return to Cameroon and fight.
The unrest in Cameroon began in November 2016, when English-speaking teachers and lawyers in the Northwest and Southwest regions took to the streets, calling for reforms and greater autonomy. They were frustrated with the dominance of the French language in official matters and with what they saw as the marginalization of Cameroon’s Anglophone population.
The protests were followed by a harsh government crackdown, as well as internet shut-downs and arrests.
In October 2017, secessionist groups declared the independence of the so-called Anglophone “state” of Ambazonia. International rights groups say that between 20 and 40 people were killed in clashes since late September. According to Amnesty International, at least 500 people were detained in the aftermath of the announcement.