Babanki Fon Released On Bail

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 :Benjamin Vubangsi, newly enthroned Fon of Babanki, detained for over one month, was Tuesday, April 18, released on bail by the Bamenda High Court presided by its President, Justice Joseph Nkengla.The ruling granted Fon Vubangsi bail after three people had agreed to be his suretees, two of them with landed property and the third accepted to sign for the sum of FCFA 1 million.

"The legal battle for his release has dragged on for some time," an elated Elisabeth Tangtang of the Ecumenical Service for Peace, Sep, told The Post in Bamenda.

Tangtang said she and fellow human rights activists were in court on March 28, when it was ruled that the file be sent to the Attorney General of the Northwest for a decision to be taken on it the following day.

There was anticipation that if this were done, hearing would have taken place on April 11."When we went to court on April 11, Justice Nkengla realised that the Attorney General had not yet worked on the file. Hearing only took place yesterday April 18."

The Fon's lawyer is Barrister Francis Sama.

Earlier in a press release, the Union of Northwest Human Rights Organisations held a press briefing in which they not only condemned the barbaric acts in which the late Fon of Babanki perished, but also blamed the government for handling the issue tactlessly.

Addressing the press and human rights groups, Joseph Ayeah, Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Peace Advocacy, CHRAPA, who is also the President of UNOWHURO, bemoaned the arbitrary arrests and the detention of 35 suspects, among them a nursing mother of a one-and-a-half-year-old baby.

To Chongsi, the administration and security forces were bent only on revenge. None of them cared about the welfare of the 21 wives and 102 children the Fon left behind.

He felt that a commission of enquiry to determine and lay bare the facts should have been created. But he said, instead, the son of the murdered Fon was dressed in gendarme uniform and led around to point out the homes of suspects.

This attitude, Chongsi said, was helping to breed and sustain hatred in Babanki.

The Northwest Fons Union, NOFWEFU, was equally blamed. Rather than use traditional diplomacy to resolve the problem, they openly took sides with the estranged Fon to the detriment of the majority of the village.

Concerning the arrest and detention of the present Fon, the human rights activists said the administration and judicial forces blundered exceedingly.They said the arrest warrant had the name of Simon Vugah Vubangi, the late Fon, instead of Benjamin Vubangsi, which is his own name.

The fact that Fon Vubangsi turned up, on hearing that he was needed, showed that he was a law abiding citizen.But the judicial authorities did not appreciate this good conduct of the Fon and still detained him for more than a month.It was not certain if the new Fon will be appearing in court again.

Article publié le vendredi 21 avril 2006
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