The United Nations has in the light of the Ngarbuh massacre called on government soldiers and Ambazonian fighters to apply international law standards in their operations.
According to the Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, “the attack on 14 February on a village in Cameroon that left 23 people dead, the majority of them children, is a shocking episode in the ongoing crisis that has afflicted the country’s North-West and South-West regions for the past three years”.
In relation to an announcement by the Cameroon Government on 17 February that there would be an investigation into the killings, “we urge the authorities to ensure that the investigation is independent, impartial and thorough, and that those responsible are held fully to account” Colville adds.
The UN says witnesses attest, “some 40 armed men, including members of the security and defence forces, attacked the village of Ngarbuh, in the department of Donga Mantung in North-West Cameroon, opening fire on people and burning down houses”.
“According to information from UN colleagues on the ground, among the 23 people killed were 15 children, nine of whom were under the age of five. The victims also included two pregnant women, one of whom died of her injuries in hospital” the UN states, adding that “this attack is the latest deadly incident in Cameroon’s North-West and South-West regions where hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by clashes between security and defence forces and armed separatist groups”.
While calling on the Government and separatist fighters to ensure that the security force by applicable international law norms standards, the UN Human Rights Office says it “has been following developments in the North-West and South-West regions as an already tense situation worsened ahead of parliamentary and municipal elections held on 9 February”.
“The UN Human Rights Office also received information that voting centres and the houses of those involved in the election campaign were attacked by separatists”.
In May 2019 at the end of a visit to Cameroon, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet “welcomed the Cameroon Government’s openness to work with the UN Human Rights Office, and the rest of the UN, to seek solutions to the major human rights and humanitarian crises in the country”.
“In light of the latest violence, we urge the Government of Cameroon to take concrete steps to implement recommendations made last year by the UN Human Rights Office. We reiterate our readiness to help the Government to protect the human rights of people all across Cameroon” it ends.
Several other bodies have since criticised the killings, calling on the government to engage in a free and fair dialogue with separatist fighters.
Mimi Mefo Info