- Specialist Hired By Family Carries Out Autopsy On Already Cut-open Remains
- Lawyers Maintain Ngule Was Tortured To Death
By Andrew Nsoseka
The family of Ngule Linus, a student of the University of Buea, UB, who died hours after he was arrested by officers of the Military Security (SEMIL) Buea Branch, were, on Thursday, July 6, again thrown into wailing mood.
They discovered that the remains of their late son and brother had been cut open in several places, including the head, in their absence, and without their consent.
Officers of the SEMIL, or an affiliate military branch, had reportedly carried out an autopsy on the body but, so far, results of the autopsy examination have not been released.
Initially, when family members of the late Ngule Linus arrived at the Buea Regional Hospital in the morning of July 6, in line with the Buea Military Court’s decision to unseal the corpse and release it to the family, they faced numerous administrative bottlenecks. It was an uphill task to have the Director okay their access to the corpse. After several hours of waiting, it was only late in the evening that the family was allowed to access the remains of Ngule Linus.
When the family, led by Ngule Raymond, older brother of late Ngule Linus, alongside the autopsy specialist went in to the morgue to begin the autopsy, they discovered that it had been tampered with.
“They have tampered with the body. Even the head has been cut open. The chest and stomach too had been cut open before they were sewn back,” Raymond said after coming out of the morgue.
The issue dragged on with tempers flaring up. When the proprietor of the Mortuary, Mrs Mokake, the wife of Buea Regional Hospital Director, Dr Martin Mokake, arrived, she went on to challenge the family, saying they had no right to ask for, or collect the corpse.
She said they were not the ones who deposited it. Asked who brought the corpse, she simply said the military, and could not identify or call any of them, as no name or valid contact had been left.
When provided with the court ruling unsealing the corpse and giving the family the right to collect it, she said it was her private business and she would not be ordered around. It was only when the late Ngule’s sister, Celine, said the corpse had even been operated without their consent and approval that the Proprietor toned down. Surprised and startled, she asked her collaborators whether it was true, and they answered in the affirmative.
She then suddenly shrouded back and urged for calm. At that moment, she begged that the family members should step with her behind the morgue, to discuss it. She then said she was ready to release the corpse, but that the family had to pay her over FCFA 700,000 for the amount of time the corpse had spent in her morgue. This, again, stirred up anger as the family asked whether they were the ones who decided to seal the corpse and keep it for that long.
Asked to contact the person who brought the corpse and request her money, she said she could not because it was brought in by the military, who did not give any name. It was then that the family became frustrated and decided to call the Government Commissioner, who retorted that his number should not be called again.
After other interventions, especially from Barrister Amungwa and team, the corpse was later released to that Thursday evening. The expert then went on with his work, and results are awaited. However, Barrister Amungwa has insisted that the late student died as a result of torture in the hands of SEMIL officers in Buea. He has vowed to fight and seek justice for the late Ngule Linus and his family.
Ngule Linus and Mboh Jeres, two students studying at the University of Buea were, on March 15, whisked from their student hostel room by SEMIL officers who presented no warrant. In the night of the arrest, Ngule Linus was pronounced dead after his arrest.
The officers involved in the case then went to carry out a search in their room, and later claimed that they found a gun. It was, however, disputed by lawyers who said the officers acted unlawfully by first arresting the students without a warrant, and carrying out a search without witnesses. Lawyers insinuated that the weapon might have been planted by the officers to justify their callous act, which led to the death of a student.
An autopsy report from the expert hired by the family will put to rest the various allegations from both the family and SEMIL officers who do not agree on the cause of death. The SEMIL officers, on their part, had already sent out three contradictory stories of what reportedly led to the death of Ngule Linus who was held by them.