In a report published on Thursday 11 August 2022 by the NGO Human Rights Watch, the Cameroonian army is accused of being behind “killings”, “arbitrary detentions” but also “looting” of villages and health centres in the Anglophone region. This region has been in the grip of fear for more than five years because of a deadly conflict between the security forces massively deployed by the Cameroonian government and the armed separatist groups. These armed groups are calling for the independence of Ambazonia.
The NGO Human Rights Watch reports that separatist armed groups and Cameroonian security forces committed abuses against civilians in the English-speaking northwest of the country in the period from 24 April to 11 June 2022. For example, the NGO drew up a long list of alleged abuses by the armed forces in its report. These include the killing of civilians, arbitrary arrests, extortion, looting, burning of property and others. These abuses are inflicted on people in the context of operations against armed separatist groups operating in the region, according to the same report.
The army is fully responsible for the abuses, Human Rights Watch activists insist.
Several NGO activists gave their views on this accusation by the security forces. They only stir the pot. For Ilaria Allegeozzi, Cameroon researcher for Human Rights Watch, the mission of the security forces is to protect the population against threats from armed groups. But instead, she said, “they committed serious violations against civilians, forcing many to flee their homes. According to the researcher, the people of the region are the only ones who suffer the consequences of their actions. “It is the civilians who pay the greatest consequences of this violence,” she adds.
These accusations are unfounded, according to the army.
However, the security forces announce that they have achieved their goal and performed their duty with great honour. They are not suspicious of the accusations. “The NGO, its financiers and sponsors have their own hidden agenda in Cameroon. It is a particularly dark agenda (…). We have our own, to protect our country and its institutions. This is a sacred duty carried out with honour, loyalty and fidelity by the Defence and Security Forces,” said army spokesman Colonel Cyrille Atonfack.
As a result, the NGO made a plea to the Cameroonian authorities to conduct thorough and credible investigations into the abuses listed in the report.
Charbel Ahouandjinou (stag).