Amnesty International accuses each camp of “atrocities” in English-speaking Cameroon

In a new report published on Tuesday, the organization lists extrajudicial executions, murder, torture as well as rape and other sexual violence.

Civilians in western Cameroon are regularly victims of “atrocities”, including executions, torture and rape, committed by law enforcement and armed separatists in conflict in this predominantly English-speaking region, alarmed Tuesday, July 4, Amnesty International.

The UN and international NGOs regularly condemn “crimes” committed for more than six years by the two camps in the North-West and South-East administrative regions, mainly populated by Cameroon’s English-speaking minority.

In late 2016, the regime of President Paul Biya, who has ruled the country with an iron fist for more than 40 years, began violently suppressing peaceful demonstrations by Anglophones who consider themselves outcasts and marginalized by the central power dominated by the French. -speaking majority.

Then many English-speaking separatist armed groups took up arms and in 2017 proclaimed the “independence” of a region they call “Ambazonia”. And Biya, indomitable, has been sending massive troops there ever since.

In a new report titled: “For or against us. The population caught between the army, armed separatists and militias in the English-speaking region of the north-west”, Amnesty lists “extrajudicial executions”, “killings” of civilians including women and children, “torture”, “rape and other sexual violence” committed by both sides. “Repeated atrocities” that fall under “serious violations of human rights”.

Among the targets of the separatists, who also practice kidnapping for ransom almost daily, are civilians whom they accuse of “collaborating” with Yaoundé, and especially the Mbororo Fulani ethnic group.

The army and police are regularly accused by the UN and NGOs of attacking and destroying villages whose inhabitants are suspected of sympathizing with the separatists and of committing blunders and crimes there. Amnesty also accuses “Mbororo militias” of supporting the military in these attacks.

Amnesty’s report is based on testimonies from “more than 100 victims” and officials from local NGOs and journalists.

Amnesty also accuses the “political and judicial authorities” of “violation of human rights”, in particular by “arbitrarily” imprisoning civilians, journalists, civil society leaders and subjecting them to military tribunals for acts related to “terrorism”.

The NGO is also concerned that “Cameroon’s international partners, including Belgium, Croatia, the United States, France, Israel, the United Kingdom, Russia and Serbia, have continued to cooperate with the countries militarily, including by providing weapons and military equipment” that “risk ” to be “used by armed forces, militias or armed separatists to commit abuses”.

Amnesty calls on these “international partners” to “condemn these violations of fundamental rights” committed by both sides, and calls on the government to “rapidly conduct thorough, independent and impartial investigations”.

“Requests for meetings with government ministers” requested in connection with this report “remained unanswered”, Amnesty assures. The government never responds to press on the regular publication of NGO reports and generally does so several days or weeks after their publication.

The conflict has killed more than 6,000 people and displaced more than a million people, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG), a think tank that has not updated its assessment in three years.

(Jowhar with AFP)

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