Thursday, February 27, 2020

Ngarbuh: Army mistaken civilians for 'Mbororo rebel group' Learn more

On February 14, 23 civilians, including 15 children, were killed in northwest Cameroon. The military says they perished in the fire of several "fuel containers". The UN calls for an independent investigation, while lies and crimes committed by government forces are increasingly documented

The photos despair those who look at them. They have been running on social media since the Ntumbo massacre on February 14, where 23 civilians were killed, including 15 children. They show women and children lying in their colorful clothes, charred little bits, faces disfigured by the horror of the killing. We also see a priest greeted by the heartbreaking sobs of grieving families. 

Authentic images 

Are these images authentic? They are perceived as such by Cameroonians who receive them, like Paul in Douala or Luc Sonke, the brother of the opponent Maurice Kamto. "They were filmed by our families, our friends who live there?", They say. Some were taken by soldiers, revolted by these massacres to which they can do nothing. For Paul, for Luke, for international observers who are in discreet relationship with journalists of the international press, these images are authentic and they say what the Cameroonian government hides and denies in front of the world ?: the army commits massacres on civilians, like this February 14. 

Concordant and alarming testimony 

"Between 4 and 5 in the morning, about forty soldiers entered Ntumbo, they were chasing a Mbororo rebel group. They attacked the population of the Ngarbuh district, burning houses, killing civilians without distinction: at least 23, including 15 children and two pregnant women. Is that not counting those who died in the bush as a result of their injuries? ”, Confides to La Croix an international investigator. Paul, from this English-speaking region, assures La Croix that they started again in his village of Weh, on the outskirts of Bamenda, Monday, February 17 ?: "? They took my brother, shot him in the neck , like 13 other people in the village. Then they stole all the property and set the houses on fire. My sister-in-law and her 11 children live hidden in the bush, like many others. ” 

A state lie ??

The army has denied being responsible for the February 14 massacre: it explains that "? The fighting between the rebels and the army led to the explosion of several fuel containers?". "? This fire caused five victims, including a woman and four children, far from what is relayed in social networks?", Said army spokesman Colonel Cyrille Atonfack Guemo on Monday February 17. 

A new murderous wave 

Since the beginning of the month, the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon are again the scene of a wave of abuses attributed primarily to the police. On the eve of the February 9 legislative elections, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International were alarmed by the criminal behavior of these forces and the separatists, however on a smaller scale. Journalists cannot go there, aid workers cannot testify openly about the violence in progress, due to prohibitions and pressure from the authorities. 

UN prevented from working 

Even the United Nations is seriously hampered in its work. "The soldiers kill like crazy, anonymously accuses La Croix of a UN agent stationed in Cameroon. The English-speaking areas are closed to the media. The Cameroonian authorities are putting more pressure on the United Nations to block our movements and our missions, so that we do not record what is happening. ” 

Diet pressures

This independent investigation requested by the United Nations seems to mark a turning point in the way the international community has so far tolerated the abuses committed by the security forces, as well as the lies of the Cameroonian state. Even France, a traditional ally of the Paul Biya regime, is worried. Saturday, February 22, President Emmanuel Macron, arrested by a visitor on the sidelines of the Agricultural Show, assured ?: "? I will call, next week, President Biya and we will put the maximum pressure to make this situation stops. I am fully aware and fully involved in the violence that is going on in Cameroon and which is intolerable. I'm doing the maximum.?" 

The army engaged on two fronts 

End of 2016. Beginning of the English-speaking crisis in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon. Initially based on social demands, the dispute turned into an armed conflict between separatists and the security forces. The crisis has left more than 3,000 dead and 700,000 displaced. 

Since 2014, the Far North of Cameroon has been attacked by Boko Haram. The army is trying, with the help of vigilante groups, to eradicate this group which loots, kills and terrorizes the populations. But exactions of soldiers against civilians are also noted.