from ROSY SADOU in Yaoundé, Cameroon
YAOUNDE, (CAJ News) – GOVERNMENT forces and armed members of the ethnic Fulani group have reportedly killed at least 21 civilians at a village in western Cameroon.
Thirteen (13) children and a pregnant woman are among those deceased following the skirmishes at the Ngarbuh village in Donga Mantung district.
This restive area has been severely affected by violence between government forces and armed groups seeking a separate state for the North-West and South-West English-speaking regions.
Ethnic Fulani also live in and around Ngarbuh.
It is believed the killings occurred on February 14 but have only came to light after investigations by human rights groups.
The human rights groups reported that perpetrators also burned five homes, pillaged scores of other properties, and beat residents.
Some bodies of the victims were reportedly found burned inside their homes.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has demanded an investigation.
“The gruesome killings of civilians, including children, are egregious crimes that should be effectively and independently investigated,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, HRW senior Africa researcher.
The official said perpetrators should be brought to justice.
The government has denied that its troops have deliberately committed crimes.
“Denying that these crimes have occurred adds another layer of trauma to survivors and will only embolden government troops to commit more atrocities,” Allegrozzi said.
Hundreds of people, including civilians and state security personnel, have been killed during the protests in Cameroon in recent years.
The demonstrations stem from allegations the government, dominated by French speakers, is sidelining English-speaking communities.
Separatists in English-speaking regions are demanding independence.
– CAJ News