By Tata Mbunwe
Cameroon’s foremost human rights organisation, Centre for Human Rights and Democracy for Africa, CHRDA, has strongly condemned Friday evening’s attack on workers of the Cameroon Development Corporation, which left five of them dead.
In a release on Sunday, CHRDA called for investigations to be opened and that the perpetrators be brought to book, as it condemned the targeting of civilians during armed conflict.
CHRDA’s release came a day after CDC’s General Manager, Franklin Njie, announced that five of the corporation’s workers were killed and 44 others injured in an attack by “unidentified gunmen” at 5pm on Friday, February 10.
The gunmen attacked a personal carrier around Mondoni Oil Mill in Tiko Subdivision, that was transporting workers of the banana plantation sector who were returning from work.
“The Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa strongly condemns the attack in the Tiko Municipality, Fako Division of the South West Region of Cameroon by unidentified armed persons, suspected to be armed separatists,” CHRDA wrote.
“The killing of civilians is unacceptable, and all parties to the ongoing conflict in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon must ensure the protection of unarmed civilians and their properties,” the NGO furthered, also calling on the government “to carry out a prompt and effective investigation into the attack and bring the perpetrators before the law”.
The four men and five women said to have been killed in the attack included: Victor Ndanji (driver); Ebude Elizabeth (Time monitor clerk); Amabo (Irrigation foreman); Ngoe akwe (watchman); and Away Pascal (welder).
The CDC said one of the 44 injured workers was in a critical state, while others were being treated at the Tiko Cottage Hospital.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack termed by some local media as despicable.
It is also suspected that Ambazonia separatist fighters, who have been seeking to break away the Northwest and Southwest Regions from the Republic of Cameroon, are responsible for the attack.
On Friday, 10 February, the separatists had called for a lockdown in prelude to Youth Day celebrations on February 11.
It is believed the attack on CDC workers in Tiko might have aimed to enforce this lockdown, because the fighters had warned people to stay indoors on Friday and Saturday.