from ROSY SADOU in Yaoundé, Cameroon
YAOUNDE, (CAJ News) – HUMAN rights groups are demanding investigations into the killing of hundreds of people during demands for independence by English-speaking Cameroonians.
An estimated 650 civilians, 235 members of the security forces and nearly 1 000 alleged separatists have been killed as a result of the ongoing conflict northwest of the country.
More than 530 000 people have been displaced in the English-speaking regions.
In the most recent violence, On May 15, soldiers from Cameroon’s Air Force and Rapid Intervention Battalion attacked the city of Bamenda, the capital of the Anglophone northwest region, reportedly burning down approximately 70 homes and shops as well as executing at least one person in the street.
Satellite imagery acquired by Human Rights Watch, as well as eyewitness reports and other evidence – appears to show dozens of burned buildings and extensive property damage in the Mankon area.
The attack was reportedly in reprisal for English-speaking separatists killing two Cameroonian soldiers earlier that day.
Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect expressed concern the United Nations (UN) had failed to address the armed conflict, despite it having already lasted more than 18 months.
However, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, warned that the conflict in Cameroon risked spiraling completely out of control if timely preventive action was not taken.
“There is a clear – if possibly short – window of opportunity to arrest the crisis,” she said.
Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect called on UN member states and regional organisations to suspend military aid to Cameroon until the country made progress towards ending the conflict in the Anglophone regions.
– CAJ News