At least four persons have been sentenced to death by firing over the killing of pupils last year at a school in Kumba, Meme Division in the South West Region.
The four were handed the sentences on Tuesday, September 7 by the Buea Military Tribunal after about nine months of trial.
They were charged with acts of terrorism, hostility against the father land, Secession, Insurrection, murder and illegal possession of firearms and ammunitions as per Sections 74. 102, 111 and 276 of the Cameroon Penal code as well as Law No 2014/028 of 23 December 2014 on the suppression of acts of terrorism and the Law No 2016/015 of December 2016 on arms and ammunition in Cameroon.
Reading out the verdict, presiding Magistrate and President of the Buea Military Tribunal, Lieutenant Colonel Tchinde Yeneyo Jackson said the four, who entered a not guilty plea, have up to ten days to appeal the verdict.
Reacting to the verdict, the defense counsel Walters Attoh was defiant they will appeal the case at the higher jurisdiction to overturn the verdict of the court.
A position well approved by human rights lawyer Barrister Richard Tamfu who said there is a window to appeal right up to the Supreme Court to protect the lives of the four whom he said the court had not sufficiently proven they were terrorists who committed the act.
The verdict comes about ten months after the incident which led to the killing of seven children and several others injured following an attack on the Mother Francisca International Bilingual School in Kumba.
The proprietress of the school, Judith Ayanu Fombindia, her husband, Samon Gabriel Shu as well as the Principal, Godlove Abere Ekendja and a guard Michel Kundjou were each slammed a five-month sentence after their corporate responsibilities as a corporate body were established as per Section 74 and their failure to report the crime as per Section 107 of the Penal Code.
However, they had already spent the required number of time in jail and will thus be discharged. On the other hand, three persons; Emmanuel Angu, Divine Njume and Akwafe Zebedee were all acquitted after the prosecution failed to prove their involvement in the crime. On the other hand, the Court turned downed the claims of damages of the Civil party of about to FCFA 10 million.
Eight persons were also fined FCFA 50,000 among them the proprietress and the principal of the school. Failure to pay will lead to a six-month jail sentence, the presiding magistrate said as he read out the sentences.
According to Barrister Richard Tamfu who has been following up the matter, the case has been in open hearing since December 1, 2020 after at least 12 persons were arrested in connection with the incident, including the proprietress of the Saint Theresa International Bilingual School, Kumba.
Among the accused five were in custody while the others were granted bail as hearing took close to nine months before the verdict was finally passed.