Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Scandal: Secessionists arrest, beat up and burn alive a civilian, Human Rights Watch alerted

A video, filmed in mid-May 2019 that Human Rights Watch was able to watch, shows armed separatists torturing a man in an abandoned school in the northwestern region of Cameroon, the organization said today.

This video, authenticated by a dozen sources, including five people who have recognized the school and its location, corroborates previous reports of torture and school occupation by armed separatists, documented by Human Rights Watch.

Screen photo from the video
"Once again, documents are circulating that confirm allegations that armed separatists are committing abuses against civilians," said Lewis Mudge, director for Central Africa at Human Rights Watch. "Separatist leaders should immediately order their fighters and their supporters to stop these attacks, particularly torture and other abuses against civilians. "

The video shows at least four separatist fighters threatening and torturing their victim, which is in underwear, forcing him to sit on pieces of paper on fire and hitting him with sticks and machetes.

An analysis of the dialogue in the video reveals that the victim is a truck driver from the village of Bali, who was carrying goods for the Cameroon Breweries, a state-owned company that separatists oppose. They have banned sales, purchases and transportation of drinks in the areas they control.

In the video, we hear the separatists accuse the driver of selling brewery products in the areas of Bali and Batibo, in the North West region. The victim, who has not yet been identified, begs his torturers to stop, but instead they threaten to "wash him with gasoline", implying that they will kill him.

The aggressors and their victim speak Mungaka, a common idiom among the communities of Bali. The video appears to have been filmed at the Bali State Secondary Technical School, as indicated by inscriptions appearing on a desk 5 minutes and 41 seconds after the start of the video. Five Bali residents, who are familiar with the school, told Human Rights Watch that this is the school on the video.

These residents also claimed that the separatists held people hostage and subjected them to abuse. The school, which has a capacity of more than 800 students, has been closed since mid-2017 due to violence and the boycott of separatist education in order to make the region ungovernable, and to report that the situation in the English-speaking regions is no longer tenable.

The separatists are most likely members of a group that secured control of Bali and whose leader was known as General Koraman. In March, a video appeared of Koraman stating that he and his men would now intercept the vehicles of the Brasseries du Cameroun. Some sources suggest that this video was filmed during the first half of May. Reliable information indicates that Koraman was killed on 1 June.

Screenshot of a video showing a man forced to sit on burning pieces of paper at an abandoned school in Bali in the North West region of Cameroon. He was allegedly tortured by armed separatists in this English-speaking region,


Screenshot of a video showing a man forced to sit on flaming pieces of paper at an abandoned school in Bali in the North West region of Cameroon. He was reportedly tortured by armed separatists in this English-speaking region in May 2019. © 2019 Private

Since the end of 2016, the English-speaking regions of Cameroon have been caught in a cycle of deadly violence that has left more than 1,800 people dead and uprooted half a million people. million people. Government forces have killed scores of civilians, burned hundreds of homes, and used torture and incommunicado detention against people suspected of belonging to separatist groups, with almost total impunity. Armed separatists have killed hundreds of security forces, assaulted and kidnapped hundreds of people, and increased their attacks and calls for secession from the northwestern and southwestern regions.

Since the crisis escalated, armed separatists have used schools and their environs as bases, setting up fighters, stocking weapons and holding hostages there. The separatists have upset the living conditions in the areas they control by imposing strikes, systematically attacking school buildings and threatening teachers and students with violence if they do not go to school. did not bend to their demand for a boycott of education.

In one incident, armed separatists kidnapped two children, aged 16 and 17, from their home in Nkwen, in the Bamenda area of ​​the Northwest region, on the morning of 8 June. Their father told Human Rights Watch that the separatists had accused the children of studying for the General Certificate Examination: "They arrived on a motorcycle, entered the house with rifles. and threatened everyone. They claimed that my children had disobeyed their slogan of boycotting education. Then they took them away.They then called to demand a ransom. I do not know how I will find the money. I'm afraid my daughter is raped. The children were beaten and released three days later, after a ransom payment.

Armed separatists have also tortured dozens of people. In the past 12 months, Human Rights Watch has documented numerous cases of torture by armed separatists of employees of the Cameroon Development Corporation working in the company's banana plantations near Tiko in the Southwest region. Employees were beaten or maimed because they refused to participate in a general strike at the hands of the separatists.

On 18 June, separatists abducted at least 40 people, including women and children, who were traveling in a convoy of four vehicles to Bafut in the North West region.Human Rights Watch spoke with two people who escaped. One of them, a 37-year-old man from Wum, said that about 20 armed separatists ambushed the convoy: "They came out of the woods, shot in the air and had cars. They were screaming 'Amba! Amba! ' (the abbreviation of "Amba boys", the name by which the separatists are known and they give themselves) and threatened to kill women. The separatists beat and robbed these people and released them the next day.

Cameroon's international partners and the UN Security Council should impose targeted sanctions on separatist leaders who bear responsibility for abuses, including torture and school occupation, Human Rights Watch said.

The Bali torture video appeared four weeks before a Security Council meeting on 4 June, where the UN Regional Office for Central Africa gave a summary of the situation. Nine human rights organizations urged the Security Council to pay attention to the humanitarian and human rights situation in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon.

"The separatists must know that the world is watching them and that those responsible for torture will have to face the consequences," Mudge said. "Armed separatists should let children resume their studies and stop using schools to run their campaigns. "

Source: hrw.org