Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Ngarbuh massacre: what do we expect from Paul Biya's investigation?

A Commission of Inquiry to shed light on this tragedy was set up last Thursday.

The President of the Republic Paul Biya wants to know what really happened in the locality of Ngarbuh, department of Donga Mantung region of the West during the night of February 14 to 15, 2020. According to international organizations more than 20 civilians made up of women and children died charred. Two weeks after this tragedy, a Commission of Inquiry composed of elements of Military Security (Sémil), elements of the gendarmerie and officials from civil society was set up on February 27, 2020 by the President of the Republic. This Commission of Inquiry has eight days to return its copy. The President of the Republic's decision to set up a Commission of Inquiry comes after the publication on February 25 of a report by the NGO Human Rights Watch.

Me Alice Nkom, lawyer at the Cameroon bar and member of civil society says she expects nothing concrete from this Commission of Inquiry set up by the President of the Republic: “The massacres in Ngarbuh have taken place since February 14th . After these massacres that claimed the lives of several civilians, our government did not issue an official statement to be indignant. Civil society and certain politicians had to denounce this affair before seeing an official government reaction. In reacting, the government tells us about the collateral damage and minimizes the balance sheet without however conducting a preliminary investigation. In this posture I can expect nothing from this Commission. The reality is that the soldiers were sent to this area to wage war against their compatriots and the consequence is that many Cameroonians trust their army more in this war, "says Alice Nkom. In this report, the NGO accuses the army of the murder of 21 civilians, including a woman and thirteen children, in an attack carried out on February 14, 2020 in Ngarbuh. Human Rights Watch also overwhelms the army of torching several homes and of looting and other beatings of the people.

The NGO claims in its report to have relied on satellite images showing dwellings in the locality of Ngarbuh, thereby incriminating the Cameroonian defense forces. Regarding the report published last February 25 by the Ong Human Rights Watch, the government of Cameroon rejected it on February 27 during a press briefing given by Réné Sadi, the Minister of Communication: “The government strongly denounces this step, which undoubtedly illustrates all the bad faith of these organizations, tirelessly determined to damage the image of Cameroon and the stability of the institutions "affirmed the Minister of Communication who also accuses the Ong Human Rights Watch to have links with the separatists.