Ten Cameroon separatist leaders extradited from Nigeria earlier this year will be prosecuted next month for terrorist allegations that could lead to the death penalty, one of their lawyers said after a court hearing Tuesday.
The accused include Julius Ayuk Tabe, the leader of an Anglo-African separatist movement in western Cameroon, struggling to break away from the central government dominated by Francophone.
Hundreds of people, including civilians, separatists and security officials from Cameroon, were killed in last year's violence, which emerged as the worst security threat to President Paul Biya in his 36-year term.
"Ten charges have been brought against them, including terrorism, the defense of terrorism, secession, civil war and the revolution," lawyer Christopher Ndong told Reuters after the accusations were read at the military yard in the capital city of Yaounde.
The trial is scheduled to begin on December 6, Ndong added.
Tabe and his co-defendants were among the 47 Anglo-French camerons arrested in Nigeria and deported to Cameroon in January. The other 37 suspects are still held by the authorities and have not been charged, Ndong said.
The government spokesman in Cameroon was not immediately available for comment.
A separatist insurgency gained momentum in 2017, following a government repression against the peaceful anglophone protests, complaining of marginalization by the French majority.
Violence on both sides of the conflict intensified this year, forcing thousands of civilians to seek refuge in French speaking regions.
Biya, re-elected in a seventh term in October, said in his opening speech last month that the separatists must give their arms or face the full force of the law.
Cameroon regularly condemns people to death, but has not executed for years.