The Story Edward T.Y, Deported from the United States to Cameroon in the midst of ongoing war.
When I was deported back to Cameroon, my friend in the United States called my family members to inform them about an organization called Voiceless Advocacy (VOCAD) which would have helped with me for case had it been they were contacted. He mentioned that the organization has handled more than 250 cases of asylum seekers from French Cameroon and Sothern Cameroonians that he was aware and they all won their cases. However, others should learn to circulate useful information to the public and prospective asylum users to make proper use of Voiceless Advocacy (VOCAD).
The southern Cameroons crisis took a different dimension in 2016, with the Southern Cameroons lawyers of common law and the teachers organized a general protest to push government stop the use of French language for submissions in courts and the use of French language in the English system of education. The leaders of consortium were earlier arrested by government for some grievances which were never resolved. The southern Cameroonians had a new leadership under the presidency of Sissiko Ayuk Tabe, who called on the population of southern Cameroons to go out with peace plants for a peaceful protest for the release of consortium leaders arrested at the same time; the dictator Paul Biya was addressing the United Nations General Assembly on September 22nd 2017. During the general protest, I was among those arrested in the town of Bamenda, where many others were shot, killed and buried in mass graves. Hundreds were arrested in the territory of Southern Cameroons, I was arrested by mixed forces of police, gendarmes and military, then detained for three weeks at the prison in Yaoundé, my family and few friends raised the sum of 300,000 frs cfa to bail me out of prison without any trial.
Later, on October 1st 2017, the new Southern Cameroons leader Sissiko Ayuk Tabe unilaterally declared the independence of southern Cameroons from the French dominated majority. More than five million Southern Cameroonians came out to express their willingness for an independent southern Cameroon Ambazonia. The of the government was the same; using helicopter gunships, shot and killed many protesters, hundreds arrested, others seriously wounded of bullets. I was unfortunate to be arrested again while I was participating in the protest in the town of Buea; I was detained from October 1st to 14th 2017. The police tortured me on daily basis to reveal names of other activists to no avail. I was tortured with pieces of cables, suspended on a rope attached to a ceiling for hours to call names of any suspects, beaten on the soles of my feet, I was served dry bread for my detention period. The intervention of the Southern Cameroons bar Association of lawyers pushed the administration to release us without bail on signing a warning. Immediately I was released, I went to the hospital for treatment due to my frail health and wounds sustained during the torture.
The next instance where I fell in hands of the police was in Bamenda town, this happened in the back drop of crisis in the Southern Cameroons. My SCNC membership card and the CATTU card were ceased from me. Based on those charges, they kept me in detention from February 28th to October 31st 2018 in one of the police stations in Yaoundé. I received very cruel treatment in custody, constant torture; I was sleeping on bare floor for one month till when my family borrowed the sum of 300,000 frs to bail me out.
Three months later, precisely on June 3rd 2018, the police came to my home town of XXXX to search for me. They learned that I was still continuing with my activities with the SCNC. They found me in another location where I had poultry farming, arrested me and set fire on the whole structure and destroyed it with more than 550 chicken, completely burnt down. They forced me into their truck and engaged on a night journey from town XXXX to the town of Bafoussam in French Cameroun territory. Unfortunately, the poor state of the road caused the police vehicle to get stocked in a ditch. I succeeded to escaped into the surrounding bushes, an attempt to search for me all failed, as it was complicated by the darkness. I took refuge and remained in hiding where I communicated with my family who helped me to escaped out of the country for safety. It had become evidently clear that the regime had declared me wanted and listed me among other Southern Cameroonians pro-independence activists for execution or life imprisonment.
In 2019, while in detention, in the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement ICE, requested me to appear in immigration immigration court to defend my asylum declaration in Texas. I had earlier been given a credible fear approval interview. From my deportation officer, I had demonstrated a founded fear of persecution in my country of birth Cameroon, but ICE/immigration court expected me to provide substantial evidence to justify my persecution story. Under hard struggle, I communicate to family members and friends to help me provide the needed evidence. I was furnished with a pile of fifteen evidence from my country Cameroon and some from friends in the United States. After crossed examination which lasted for five hours thirty minutes and with the assistance of my attorney, the sitting judge and the State prosecutor denied my case 2020, on basis that my cased lacked convincing evidence and I didn’t show any community ties in the United States and I was event declared a flight risk.
My attorney instead taking an appeal rather convinced me to t sign my deportation back to Cameroon. As timid as I was, I had on option but to sign my deportation with tears dropping from cheeks, because I knew my fate returning to a Cameroon where I had been declared wanted was to meet my death. This was happening when the civil war/genocide was still ravaging the whole population of the Southern Cameroons. I arrived Cameroon accompanied by US ICE Officers at the Douala International airport; I was handed to the military/BIR and they started molestation me right from the airport before transporting me to military tribunal for a brief judgment on gun point before a life sentence of 45 years imprison was pronounced. I am currently serving my 45 years prison sentence without any appeal. The shocking news about my family is that, our two family homes in Kumba and Muyuka were all burnt down by the military in search of my whereabout, three family members were shot death during the unfortunate incident. The question I’m still asking the United States is, why did the United States not give me a chance to live safely in the country to avoid the unavoidable 45 years prison sentence? This was done during Trump’s term, how I wish Joe Biden was in office at the time to pass the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Cameroon.
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