from ROSY SADOU in Yaoundé, Cameroon
YAOUNDE, (CAJ News) – ALLEGATIONS of Cameroonian security forces committing serious violations against civilians instead of protecting the population from armed groups have returned to haunt the government.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that soldiers summarily killed at least ten people and carried out a series of other abuses between April 24 and June 12, during counter-insurgency operations in the North-West region.
The troops allegedly burned 12 homes, destroyed and looted health facilities, arbitrarily detained at least 26 people, and are presumed to have forcibly disappeared up to 17 others.
“Cameroonian authorities should conduct credible and impartial investigations into these serious abuses and hold the abusers accountable,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, senior central Africa researcher at HRW.
The alleged violations were committed during military operations against armed separatist groups seeking independence for the two English-speaking regions of the North-West and South-West.
HRW also documented serious abuses by separatist fighters during the same period, including the killings and kidnapping of civilians, and attacks on students, teachers and schools.
The crisis in the Anglophone regions has received little media and international attention and has been considered one of the most neglected worldwide.
In a June briefing to the United Nations Security Council on the situation in the central African region, Assistant Secretary-General for Africa, Martha Pobee, urged “the international community to step up support to national efforts toward a peaceful resolution.”
In July, French President Emmanuel Macron did not publicly address human rights issues when he visited Cameroon and met his counterpart, Paul Biya.
An estimated 4 000 civilians have reportedly been killed in the Anglophone regions since 2016.
– CAJ News