By Andrew Nsoseka
A group of lawyers, led by Barrister Edward Lyonga Ewule, have taken the Gendarmerie Legion Commander in Buea and the Superintendent of the Buea Central Prison to court over the torture and imprisonment of a heavily-pregnant woman, Antoinette Kongnso Gohla, on flimsy excuses that she dated the now dreaded separatist commander, ‘No Pity’, five years ago. The case comes up in Buea on October 22, 2021.
The lawyers are arguing that the torture and arrest of the pregnant woman, which was led by an officer of the BIR and traditional ruler, apparently charged with carrying out unpopular abuses on citizens backed by some politicians and state functionaries, breached every rule of procedure and human rights.
The lawyers have filed a habeas corpus demanding that the woman who was physically tortured be presented in court. In a legal notice, the officials involved in the detention of Antoinette Kongnso have been asked by lawyers who have taken up the case, to present themselves in court and “produce the body of Madam Kongnso Antoinette who is detained under your custody before this honorable court for the proper determination and legality of her arrest and detention. And if the Court finds the detention illegal, she should be set free in accordance with the law,” the notice from the lawyers said.
All eyes are now on the court and the said officials to see whether they will heed summons from the court or, as usual, snub it. It is also another case for the judicial system, especially in Anglophone Cameroon, to prove that it can actually render justice or even a semblance of it, especially as the case involves officials who, in many cases, have been accused of ridding high above the law.
Thirty-year-old pregnant Antoinette Kongnso Gohla was dragged from her husband’s house in Sandpit Buea alongside her two children, tortured, paraded along the streets and later handed to Gendarmes by a group of young men, headed by the town’s licensed and known harasser, a BIR officer, popularly known Moja Moja.
She was punched severally and the eight-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.
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.
After satisfactorily tormenting and torturing Kongnso and her kids, Moja Moja handed them to the Buea Gendarmerie Legion. The Gendarmerie legion Commander who received the tortured woman and her kids, proceeded to, without any known charges, order that she be detained for six months, while they search for charges to bring against the heavily pregnant woman, who doctors warn will need special care during delivery, due to the torture she received.
At the Buea Central Prison, family members, friends and even Kongnso’s husband, have all been prevented from seeing her. It is feared that she may be held in solitary confinement, which together with the trauma she went through, could be disastrous for her health and present condition.