By Andrew Nsoseka, JADE
The persecution by Buea’s ‘licensed’ human rights violator and xenophobe, John Ikome aka Moja Moja, an officer of the BIR and traditional ruler, was recently directed towards 30-year-old pregnant Antoinette Kongnso Gohla, who, alongside her two children, was dragged from her husband’s house in Sandpit Buea, tortured, paraded along the streets and later handed to Gendarmes.
She was punched severally and the 8-month unborn baby kicked by Moja Moja, before she was surrendered to Gendarmerie officers. Her crime for now, we learned, is that in some episode of her life, she had dated the now renowned Separatist commander, self-styled ‘Field Marshall No Pity’. That was years before she married her husband, Clovis Sima Shiynyuy.
Witnesses narrate how Moja Moja came into Sandpit, with bikes and a car arrived Kongnso’s house. He dragged the woman and children out of the house, firing several gunshots randomly, and warning that he will shoot anyone who comes close to him. After harassing the woman and her children, he ordered his accomplices to record the scene in a video, in which he went on to state that he has taken ‘No Pity’s’ wife and children. He promised not to hurt them, but the video shoes how he pushed the younger child. The Mother, Kongnso, quickly reaches out and pulls the little kid to her side. Moja Moja reacts by violently pushing the woman, asking her to turn her face towards the camera. When she complains and tries to resist his violent push, Moja Moja then orders the man with the camera to turn it off.
“It was during that time that he punched the woman, and even kicked her in the side of her belly with his boots,” a witness narrated.
After torturing the woman and her kids, Moja Moja and his crew paraded her through the streets of Buea, announcing that he had captured ‘No Pity’s’ wife and children. This was done as police and gendarmerie officers and other troops in the Southwest regional capital, Buea, patrolled the street, but no one intervened.
Gendarmes Relay Torture From Moja Moja
After satisfactorily tormenting and torturing Kongnso and her kids, Moja Moja handed them to the Buea Gendarmerie Legion. There, she was separated from her kids. It was there that she was asked to give her statement. She proceeded to give it, but the officer in charge wrote it in French and she could not read or understand it. She was, however, forced to sign it. A source within the Gendarmerie said she was forced to sign that she was ‘No Pity’s’ wife. When her husband, Sima, who was away at work, rushed to the Gendarmerie Legion office, he too was asked to give a statement, it was again taken down in French and he too forced to sign it.
After that, Sima was taken back to his house, which was searched. Though nothing was found, he was taken back and detained alongside his wife for a week. Sima said his heavily pregnant wife, though in pains, was chained all along the way to the military tribunal. There, they did not get into the court because it was already late. Though no charges levelled at her, she was placed on pre-trial detention. Her husband said a note from the Legion Commander had requested that she be detained for six months before they see how to go on with the procedure. She was then taken to the overcrowded Buea Central Prison.
Family Prevented from Visiting Kongnso
At the Buea Central Prison, family members, friends and even Kongnso’s husband, have all been prevented from seeing her. From all indications, she may be held in solitary confinement.
“I take things to my wife, but I can’t see her, all I receive are notes, supposedly from her. I don’t know whether she receives the food and things I take to her, because, they don’t allow me to see her. I told the courier at the prison to ask my wife what she needs. He returned with a note saying “all I want is to get out of this place. I don’t belong there,” Sima narrates.
Kongnso’s Episode with Buea Biker, later Separatist Commander
In an interview with Clovis Sima, husband of now detained Antoinette Kongnso, he told The Post that he met his wife in secondary school, Government Bilingual High School, Tatum, where they were boyfriend and girlfriend. He said from there, he quit General Education and switched to Technical, and transferred to Government Technical College, Kumbo, while his girlfriend continued in Tatum, before later travelling to Buea.
“Since mobile phones were not common then, we lost contact, and were temporarily separated. While in Buea, she enrolled into an evening school, where she met would-be ‘General No Pity’, who was also a student, doing commercial bike riding during the day and attending school in the evening. They both lived at Sandpit and went to school and came back together. She then got pregnant and gave birth to a baby. The child is five year’s old today. He left one year after the baby was born. Since he left Buea, he has never been in touch with my wife,” Sima narrated.
He said when he completed technical school; he travelled to Buea, where he lived with his uncle. He said he reconnected with his secondary school girlfriend in 2016, when he was executing a contract in Sandpit Buea.
“We discussed and shared our stories, updating each other with what happened while we were apart. She told me her story and I told her my own. We progressively reconnected. Though she had a baby, I have accepted her that way. I have known her to be a good person since our early days. I told my parents and they said it seemed we were fated to be together. She had a child, but I consider myself as the child’s father. I do everything as the father of the child; I pay the fees and the child recognises me as he father,” he intimated.
On whether the now ‘General No Pity’ takes care of the child, Sima said: “Some time ago, he (No Pity) called my wife and just asked how the child was doing. My wife said the child was fine, and then he dropped the call. Shortly after, she received a notification on her phone, stating that she had received FCFA 100,000 from the guy. She did not ask for it,” Sima disclosed.
Asked whether such a situation constitutes an offence, Barrsiter Evans Lohtabu said it breaks no law.
Sima said at the Gendarmerie Legion office in Buea, the officers claimed that she communicates with No Pity, and that he sends her money. “That is all a lie. My wife operates a mobile money kiosk. They used that pretext, showing business transactions, saying that they were from No Pity. My wife operates with a very small capital, when there is a transaction that goes about FCFA 100,000, she calls her colleagues and others to even send her (float) the money to do it,” Sima said.
Kongnso’s Dire Health Situation
The punches and kicking from Moja Moja and crew left Kongnso in a dicey health condition. Owing to the fact that she is just a few weeks due delivery, the trauma and pains have left her on a dangerous path. Her husband narrates that the pain from the kicks to her belly became unbearable and she urgently had to see a doctor, while in detention at the Gendarmerie Legion office in Buea. Though she was taken to a clinic just for consultation, she was still in pains. The Doctor at Gendarmerie office is said to have examined at her condition and the medication she was prescribed, and rather proposed that she be better taken to a hospital. According to sources, the reply he reportedly got made him furious enough to say he had “washed his hands off” the case, and would take no responsibility. The doctors who attended to her fear that a forced labour, and C-section may be the only way to save her and the baby, given what she has gone through and is still going through.
Disregard for Rule of Law
The treatment meted on the pregnant woman and her children by Moja Moja and his crew and gendarme officers depicts rather a jungle-like behaviour void of respect of human rights or even Cameroon’s domestic laws. Barrister Lohtabu says the whole process disregards every law and legal procedure.
“Criminal responsibility is personal. There is no law that forbids dating someone, or a father taking care of his child. The woman can rather sue against Moja Moja and those who participated in violating her rights,” the man of law said.
Over time, Moja Moja has engaged in such acts with no caution. He has been seen in several cases parading tortured youths, alleging that they are Northwesterners and Separatists living in the Southwest. He once issued an ultimatum asking that all Northwesterners leave the Southwest before he starts killing them. He often brags about how many of such people he has killed, but has never been admonished by anyone. In one of the PM’s visit to Buea, Moja Moja was congratulated for “his work” by the PM. Though after a backlash, it was said it was not about his xenophobic works.
Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, says everyone has the right to life, liberty and the security of person. The Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, in its Article 13, mandates that: “Each State Party shall ensure that any individual who alleges he has been subjected to torture in any territory under its jurisdiction has the right to complain to, and to have his case promptly and impartially examined by, its competent authorities. Steps shall be taken to ensure that the complainant and witnesses are protected against all ill-treatment or intimidation as a consequence of his complaint or any evidence given.” In the case of Kongnso, she was not only denied these rights, but rather law enforcers made it worse.
In Article 15, the convention against torture further states: “Each State Party shall ensure that any statement which is established to have been made as a result of torture shall not be invoked as evidence in any proceedings, except against a person accused of torture as evidence that the statement was made.” In Kongnso’s case, she was even made to sign a statement in a language she neither speaks nor understands.
Cameroon’s Constitution, in its Preamble says: “Every person has a right to life, to physical and moral integrity and to humane treatment in all circumstances. Under no circumstances shall any person be subjected to torture, to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment.” It also states that: “The Nation shall protect and promote the family which is the natural foundation of human society. It shall protect women, the young, the elderly and the disabled. Kongnso and her family were denied this.
To get the other side of the story, from the Military Tribunal in Buea, The Post visited their offices. At the Gendarmerie Legion office in Buea, we were told there was no Commander around to comment.
At the Buea Military Tribunal, we were first told that information related to the charges against Kongnso was not for the public. After a while, The Post was directed to one of the court’s officials, but he was off duty, and as such won’t be named. He said the name ‘No Pity’ is infuriating.
“I can even detain you here. Are you a lawyer? Ehh, Mr. Journalist. You want to be defending her? You are not a lawyer so don’t ask about charges against her,” he said. When we asked why she was not allowed or asked to bring a lawyer, the official told us to go and come back later when he is on duty for such questions.
Scores of human rights lawyers are already teaming up to take the case against involved officials.
As we went to press, a habeas corpus was already prepared to be filed in court early in the morning.