An activist from Cameroon and long-time resident of Sheffield will be sent back to his native country putting him in danger of torture or imprisonment.
Earlier this week friends and supporters of Bernard Mboueyeu launched a campaign to keep him safe in Sheffield after the Home Office demanded that he return to Cameroon to apply for a spouse’s visa.
A petition was distributed and a vigil was held in support of Mboueyeu outside Sheffield Town Hall last Friday.
Speaking to Forge Press from the Morton Hall detention centre in Lincolnshire Mboueyeu said, “I am very, very worried; I can’t sleep and have had to be given medication to help me.”
Mboueyeu had initially offered to return of his own free will if his safety was guaranteed but the Home Office could not do so and said that if he did not return to his native country by the May 14 then he would be returned by force.
Mboyeyeu fled Cameroon in 2007 in fear of his life after being detained by authorities and beaten because he supported a political group who were opposed to the country’s regime.
A report by Amnesty International last year noted that the Cameroon regime “continued to restrict the activities of political opponents and journalists” and that “detention conditions remained harsh and often life-threatening.”
After arriving in the UK, Mboyeyeu married a Sheffield woman, Sharon, a charity worker, in 2010 and the two now live in Wincobank and where he is a key member of the community.
He is a regular volunteer for the Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind and other local charities.
If Mboueyeu returns to Cameroon may never be allowed to return to his family. He will be put on a flight back to Cameroon on Monday.
Councillor Shaffaq Mohammad, who is a personal friend of Mboueyeu and his family, is backing the campaign, branded the recent events a “tragedy” and said of Mboueyeu: “He is a political activist and was arrested detained and beaten up by police. Things look pretty grim for him.”
“We’ve argued this but for some reason the Home Office think it’s safe for him to return.
He doesn’t have any formal documentation to travel with so as and when he returns to Cameroon he will be taken into custody to explain who he is and pretty quickly they will realise so we fear for his well being.
He added, “It’s a really bad move for the Home Office. We’re not going to give up the fight, and hopefully stop Bernard being deported.
Listen to the full interview with Cllr Shaffaq Mohammad here: