Nine separatist leaders who are serving life sentences have begun ceasefire talks with the Cameroonian government, a spokesperson for the separatist leaders said Friday.
The main separatist leader Julius Ayuk Tabe confirmed the meeting but did not reveal details of their discussions. “Nine of us met with a team from the Republic of Cameroon to initiate a ceasefire following the appeal of the United Nations,” Tabe said in a message on social media, adding that the talks were held on Thursday.
“The details are still being discussed and we will keep you informed when significant progress has been made,” he added.
The Cameroonian government is yet to react to the announcement but government sources confirmed to Xinhua the meeting took place.
The meeting between the leaders and the government is the first of its kind since an armed separatist conflict broke out in the English-speaking regions of Northwest and Southwest. The nine separatist leaders seeking independence of the English-speaking part of the country were sentenced to life in prison in August last year over rebellion and terrorism charges.
Tabe and 46 other separatist activists were arrested in Nigeria in January 2018 then extradited to Cameroon. Cameroon government forces and armed separatists have been clashing since 2017 after the separatists declared the “independence” of the two Anglophone regions.