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"He slept for two months on a mattress"

Yaoundé, 31 August 2017. Ayah Paul with family, the day he came out from jail

Yaoundé, 31 August 2017. Ayah Paul with family, the day he came out from jail

Ayah Paul Abine, a senior-ranking judge, was released last Thursday after eight months of detention. When we met him at home on the day he was released, he did not wish to speak. But Valentine Ayah, his wife, was willing to confide in us.

This release took place because, on Wednesday, 30 August the President of the Republic of Cameroon, Paul Biya, ordered that charges pending before the military court of Yaounde, against Nkongho Felix Agbor, Fontem Aforteka'a Neba, Paul Ayah Abine and some other people arrested in connection with the violence that has occurred in recent months in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon, be dropped.

It should be recalled that the violence in the North-west and South-west regions of Cameroon had disrupted the school year and had been the cause of ghost towns.


How do you feel now that your husband has come back home?


Valentine Ayah: I feel that the vacuum that has prevailed in this house for eight months is now filled thanks to God's plan. He is the only one.

Do you understand why he was incarcerated for eight months?

Valentine Ayah: The day he was arrested, he himself asked: what have I done? I could not ask that question. People came in. I was in the kitchen. When I heard the noise, I came out and saw that he was being dragged away and that if he resisted them, something bad would happen. That's what I could hear personally. I went with him to the SED where they took him.

I don't know why he was arrested. It is today that I have learned that he did nothing bad, that he was innocent, that he is clean and that he is free. But during the past eight months, we asked, we wanted to be told what he had done because it made us feel uneasy. He himself asked the question to himself, day and night: What have I done? Why am I here?  Nobody told me anything. So, I can't tell you why they incarcerated him because I don't Know the reasons.But I know he is free today by God's grace.


What were the conditions of his detention?

The first day he was kidnapped from here, they kept him in a detention cell that created health problems to him. He can't see well. The left eye is affected. The two sides of his face have been burnt.He was taken out of it because he was almost dying. God only came to his rescue. God said "No".

He was detained where there was no light, there was nothing. So the heat led to illnesses. He has become a heart patient. His eyes are ill. He will undergo treatment for the rest of his life. He slept for two months on a mattress. He was given a bed during the third month. But, it's all right. We have accepted, the essential is safe, he is out.Though unhealthy, he is alive.


Are you going to ask him to stop doing politics?


It's difficult to give my opinion. He is the only one to decide, not me. All I want is God's protection and equity on him.


Interview conducted in Yaoundé on 31 August 2017 by