Gov’t Finally Admits Military Carryout Ngarbuh Massacre

The CameroonIan military has been accused of extra judicial killings in the conflicts in the English speaking regions and Far North

After a series of denials, the government of Cameroon has finally accepted the military carried out rampant killing of civilians on February 14, 2020 in Ngarbuh, Donga Mantung Division of the Northwest Region.

The incident that has come to be known as the February 14 massacre left 23 people dead, including 15 children. Two of the victims were pregnant women and nine others said to be children below five years.

According to the report of a finding ordered by President Paul Biya and read over state media today, it blames three soldiers and members of a vigilante group of carrying out the attack. The report in part said they killed five alleged separatist fighters before discovering that 13 others were killed in the cross fire. Discovering this they tried to cover their tracks by setting fire on the village

The official version given at that time was that the area was burnt down as a result of fuel that exploded during the shoot-out.

The Cameroonian government suffers from a “denial syndrome” and has always refuted first hand any allegation of military excesses or abuse against unarmed civilians. It has always claimed the security forces are “prefessional” and “republican” in carrying out their duties. It usually takes external pressure before such incidents are fully investigated and perpetrators punished.

It took heavy pressure from the UN and other human right organisations for the government to accept to carry out detail findings. The statement from the presidency says those behind the killings will be punished according to the law.

The president of the republic has also ordered for the corpses of the victims to be exhumed and given a proper burial.

The conflict in the Northwest and Southwest regions born out of the heavy handed approach by the authorities in surprising a peaceful demand by lawyers and teachers for greater autonomy has claimed over 3000 lives according to the UN and has left over 600 000 displaced.

By Abongwa Fozo