Human Rights Watch has published a report on its website revealing another calamitous outing inflicted on innocent civilians of Ebam village, in Manyu Division of Cameroon’s South West Region on March 01, 2020, barely 16 days after the Ngarbuh debacle.
The report has revealed that about 50 soldiers invaded the village in search of separatist fighters, burnt down houses, kidnapped men in large numbers, raped some women, looted property, and even abused physically challenged persons.
HRW reports that the victims of this attack by soldiers in March are still in dismay that their aggressors are still without consequences to date. They have demanded immediate justice to be rendered for the untold sufferings they have incurred since that attack.
Some of the victims of that day have still not recovered from the traumatic experiences of that day. Some of these victims spoke exclusively to the Human Rights Watch and their testimonies of what they went through point to a hellish kind of experience they were forced to go through in the hands of the military forces.
A 40-year-old woman who was victimized by these forces revealed that she was attacked and raped by 5 well-armed soldiers who threatened to kill her if she resisted.
“It was dark and I was alone. They searched the house and stole my phone and money. One of them abused me. He said, “If you don’t sleep with me, I’ll kill you! I was too scared to say or do anything. After the rape, I ran to hide in the bush where I spent two months. I am still in shock and traumatize.”
The report by Human Rights Watch also reveals that non of the over 20 rape victims were able to receive any medical attention after their assault due to numerous obstacles such as being displaced from their homes, lack of medical infrastructure, cost of traveling to such places, the cost of medical care, and the fear of stigma and rejection from society.
The report also says that these soldiers took several young men to their base in Besongabang where they were well tortured and some of them killed.
“The soldiers put us in a military vehicle and drove us to their camp,” said a 25-year-old man. “ My hands were tied behind my back. When we got there, the soldiers beat me up. They hit me very hard on the legs, I still have scars.”
The victims and the people of Ebam have said that the military forces carried out this operation in retaliation to a supposed suspicion of cooperation between the villagers with the Separatist fighters. A 28-year-old woman, a rape victim and witness to the attack, told Human Rights Watch that “The soldiers asked me and the other villagers, ‘Where are you hiding the Ambas? “We said we did not know where the Ambas were. So they said, “Next time we come back here we’ll shoot everyone if you don’t show us the Ambas now.”
To date, the Cameroonian Government has never taken any measures to ensure that justice is served for what happened to the people of Ebam in March 2020. The incident was conspicuously kept under the spotlight and the perpetrators of this act never questioned.
Despite the Cameroon Government having a legal obligation under the international law to ensure that those responsible for such heinous actions are brought to justice, it has, like in many other cases decided on maintaining sealed lips and giving room for numerous opinions.