Amnesty International condemns abuses by armed groups, military in NW, SW


International Human Rights watch dog, Amnesty International, has seriously condemned abuses by armed groups and the military in the North-West and South-West Regions of Cameroon including arbitrary detention, unlawful attacks and killings as the arm conflict in the two Anglophone regions continues unabated.

The condemnation by the Rights group of international repute is contained in her 2021 report published on Tuesday, March 29, 2022.

According to the Rights group, separatist fighters in 2021 continued to commit grave human rights violations in the North-West and South-West regions, targeting people, healthcare facilities and schools. According to the report, from January 10 to June, United Nations Humanitarian Organisations, OCHA, reported 29 attacks on healthcare facilities in the North-West and seven in the South-West region; health workers and patients were abducted and installations were burnt.

The report further states that on January 9, the head of a school in Ossing, Manyu division, South-West region, was reportedly killed by unidentified men. Amnesty International disclosed that, according to OCHA, on March 5, unidentified armed men abducted a student from a school in the village of Batoke, South-West region and on March 6, armed men abducted two teachers and a student from a school in Bamenda, North-West region.

On November 24, the report disclosed that, unidentified gunmen attacked a school in Ekondo-Titi, South-West region killing four students and a teacher, meanwhile on February 27, suspected armed separatists, abducted a doctor in the North-West region, accusing him of not supporting the separatists’ cause and he was release after paying a ransom.

The report further states that, on March 13, according to the National Union of Journalists, a Journalist at Cameroon Radio Television was abducted from her home by suspected armed separatists and was released after a ransom was paid and that on June 15, six civil servants were abducted in Masore Balue, South-West region and one of them was executed according to state media and Human Rights Organisations.

Traditional authorities were also targeted, suspected for siding with the Cameroonian government and on February 13, armed men abducted four traditional leaders in Fontem, South-West Region with three of them reportedly found dead. These human Rights abuses according to the report, happened in the context of growing inter-communal tensions. Between 22 and 26 February, the report states that at least 4,200 people were displayed from seven villages in Nwa Subdivision, North-West region, after attacks by Fulani vigilante groups, resulting in the deaths of at least eight people. On March 5, armed men according to the report attacked Fulani herdsmen in lower Menchum Valley, North-West region, killing at least 10 people, after the herdsmen’s cattle had allegedly destroyed a farmer’s crops. According to OCHA, two days later in Lower Menchum Valley, armed men attacked Fulani people, killing six people, allegedly to avenge the death of a woman burnt alive in her house in Beneng village.

Arbitrary detention

Citing the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, in two opinions adopted in August 2019 and May 2021, called for the release of Mancho Bibixy and Tse Conrade. The report indicates that the two men led protests in the Anglophone regions, in 2016 and 2017 and were sentenced by a military court in Yaoundé to 15 years in prison, following their conviction notably for “acts of terrorism, secession, spreading false information and contempt for public bodies and officials”. Dozens of other Anglophone leaders remained in detention after having been tried by military tribunals.

According to Amnesty International, more than 100 members of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement, CRM , reportedly remained in arbitrary detention; they were charged and sentenced by the military courts for attempted revolution, rebellion, aggravated assembly, or participation in the organisation of an undeclared public meeting, in relation to their activism or their participation in banned protests in September 2020 among them Olivier Bibou Nissack, the spokesperson of MRC, Leader  Maurice Kamto, and Alain Fogue Tedom, National Treasurer of the MRC, were sentenced to seven years in prison. On December 31 according to the report, after 15 months of pre-trialdetention, four members of the Stand Up for Cameroon Movement were found guilty of “insurrection” and sentenced to 16 months in prison by a military tribunal. They had been arrested during a meeting ahead of September protest.

Unlawful attacks, killings

According to Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International reports that soldiers killed at least nine people in South-West Region, January 10, and looted homes. The report further indicates that between June 8 and 10, Cameroonian security forces also killed two people, raped a 53- year-end old woman and destroyed and looted at least 33 homes shops and a traditional leader’s palace in the North West Region. The report further states that in following an improvised explosive device attack on a Rapid Intervention Battalion Convoy in on December 8, elements of army forces were reportedly burnt a large number of houses.

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