The NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW), which specializes in monitoring the humanitarian situation, has accused the Cameroonian military of the summary execution of a dozen people during its counter-insurgency operations in the North West region between April 24 and June 12.
The organization’s report, published this week, also accuses the military of a whole spectrum of abuses: it holds them responsible for burning a dozen homes, looting medical centers, arbitrarily detaining at least 26 people and participating in the forced disappearance of up to 17 others.
All this during military operations against pro-independence groups in Cameroon’s two English-speaking regions, North West and South West, which in turn have also been accused by the organization of serious abuses committed during the same period, including killings and abductions of civilians and attacks on students, teachers and schools.
HRW highlights incidents such as that which occurred on June 1 in the Missong community where, according to witnesses consulted by the NGO, soldiers from the 53rd Motorized Infantry Battalion (Bataillon d’infanterie motorisée, BIM) killed nine people, including four women and an 18-month-old girl during a reprisal operation against villagers accused by the Army of harboring separatist fighters.
Human Rights Watch has attempted to obtain a response from Cameroon Army spokesman Colonel Cyrille Serge Atonfack Guemo, but has so far received no reply.
Finally, the NGO recalls the serious political and security crisis that has been going on since 2016 due to the conflict between the Army and armed separatist groups seeking independence for their self-proclaimed state of Ambazonia.
The violence has caused some 6,000 deaths, nearly 600,000 people internally displaced within the Anglophone and neighboring regions, and more than 77,000 people have been forced to become refugees in Nigeria. It is, according to the United Nations, one of the world’s most neglected crises.