By David Atangana
Government soldiers battling armed separatists in the English speaking Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon are again making headlines on the international scene for wrong reasons.
The image of the Cameroon army is in deep waters following latest report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), an international non governmental organization. The group has accused the army of grave rights violations against civilians in a military campaign supposedly against armed separatists in the two regions.
The report chronicles atrocities committed by the state defense and security forces from April to June 2022.
According to the report obtained by MMI, Cameroonian soldiers summarily killed at least 10 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, Human Rights Watch, noted also burned 12 homes, destroyed, and looted health facilities, arbitrarily detained at least 26 people. HRW also reported the presumed the enforced disappearance of to 17 others.
“Instead of protecting the population from threats posed by armed groups, the Cameroonian security forces have committed serious violations against civilians, causing many to flee their homes,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, senior central Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.
According to human rights Watch, government soldiers arbitrarily arrested 40 bike riders in Oku with 17 of them missing.
The rights group also added the killing of nine people including women and children in Missong; burning of a home and looting of a local Health Center in Chomba; killing of one person, burning of 12 homes, destruction of a community health center and looting of atleast 10 shops in Belo-all blamed on the Cameroon army.
It should be recalled that, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and other organizations have also documented a longstanding pattern of unlawful and incommunicado detention and torture in custody in Cameroon.
Regretting the little media attention given to the crisis since 2016, Illaria Allegrozi said “Cameroon’s international partners, including the African Union and United Nations, should insist that there can be no peace in the Anglophone regions without justice.”
She added that “Cameroon’s bilateral partners should send a strong and clear message to the Cameroonian government that engaging in atrocities with impunity has consequences.”
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