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Friday, October 21, 2016
Anselme Noumbiwa deported
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Anselme Noumbiwa
Cameroonian Christian Anselme Noumbiwa has been deported from the UK back to his native country. Before leaving he thanked those who had given him support.  More than 40 churches – particularly in the Tees valley where he lived - were praying for Anselme. He attended the Catholic parish of the Sacred Heart in Middlesbrough, which has a large congregation of refugees and asylum seekers.

Campaigners felt it was clear his removal on 28 April had been orchestrated by UK Border Agency to take place during the period after the announcement of the election - he was arrested 2 days after the election was announced, a time when an MP would not be able to intervene to help him.  In the days leading up to the deportation, campaigners from Justice First, a local asylum group, stopped Home Secretary Alan Johnson on a visit to Stockton and gave him a letter regarding the case. Anselme fled his homeland in 2006, after the death of his father made him the head of the large and powerful Bamileke tribe. Under traditions, he was  equired to wed his father’s many widows, something he refused to do, saying it was against his religious beliefs. This angered the tribe, which cannot appoint a new chief until Anselme dies. He was tortured before he escaped, and feared if he returned he would be murdered.

The UK’s Immigration Services rejected his account of his experiences despite compelling evidence in the form of a newspaper account of his ordeal in L'Effort Camerounais, the respected newspaper of the Catholic Bishop's Conference in Cameroon. Anselme substantiated his evidence by providing an official letter from the Editor of L'Effort testifying to the veracity of the article, the meticulous research, and the integrity of the newspaper.

According to Catherine Ramos, Director of Justice First: “Anselme was here to open the eyes of the blind to injustice and so that those with ears would hear about the injustice with which refugees are treated.  We are asked to care for so few and yet our country says go back.  We ask so often how we are to serve God.  We were sent Anselme and others.  Please God that now other Christians might help this stranger who was imprisoned, assaulted, made destitute and filled with fear when he asked for our help. He opened the eyes of many.  It is our great loss to lose such a dignified, courageous and principled man. We did not deserve him and he deserved better.  Pray to God for his safety and remember him on May 8th, his birthday."

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