The Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (CHRDA) accused the Cameroon army on Monday of killing at least eight civilians in one of the country´s conflict-hit English-speaking regions, according to a statement.
CHRDA said it received reports Sunday about the killing of at least eight civilians in Maotu village in the country’s South West region. The victims killed included women and children, “who are classified under the group of vulnerable persons.”
The rights group said it “received and analyzed some videos and images from the scene, which all depict that the victims were shot dead. Sources revealed that there was a military invasion in the village that kept everyone running for safety.“
“So many people were killed, including a grandmother and her grandchild. We do not know what that old woman and the innocent child did to deserve death,” CHRDA quoted an eyewitness as saying.
“CHRDA calls on the state authorities to investigate this heinous act and let justice be served for the victims. We also call on all combatants to fully respect International Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law,” it said.
The Cameroon military did not immediately respond to CHRDA´s statement.
The attack brings back to the minds of Cameroonians the Ngarbuh incident which occurred in 2020.
Last year, Cameroon acknowledged the army’s role in the killings of civilians — including children and women — in the country´s North West Region.
The incident occurred in February in Ngarbuh village, where the military was accused of killing civilians and burning homes. The government had earlier denied responsibility for the killings.
The Central African country has been marred by protests and violence since 2016, with residents in English-speaking regions contending they have been marginalized for decades by the central government and the French-speaking majority.
They are calling for independence or a return to a federal state.
Violence in the Anglophone regions in the last three years has claimed an estimated 3,000 lives and caused the displacement of more than 730,000 civilians, according to Human Rights Watch.
In June 2020, the Norwegian Refugee Council declared the conflict in Cameroon as the most neglected crisis on the planet for a second year running.
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