A pregnant woman and 14 children were among 32 killed in an attack Friday in Cameroon’s civil war-ridden English-speaking region. While the military has been blamed, an Army spokesperson has refuted claims that the military blatantly killed civilians.
The attack took place in the village of Ntumbo, in Cameroon’s Northwest region, according to United Nations official James Nunan. Nunan heads the Buea sub-office for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Nunan told the media that several victims were burned to death. Additionally, he said an unknown number of residents were injured and around 600 have fled from the village.
While initial reports suggested that 22 were killed in Ntumbo, Cameroonian activist and human rights lawyer Felix Agbor Nkongho told CNN on Monday that the death toll has been raised to 32.
“The military officers responsible for these heinous crimes must be brought to justice,” Nkongho, who works with the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, said.
The attack comes as Cameroon’s Anglophone region has suffered from violence and conflict that emerged after English-speaking communities began protesting in 2016. Many in the English-speaking regions felt their voices were not being fairly represented in the French-speaking central government.
The Cameroonian military has been accused in the last few years of attacking farming communities in southern Cameroon supportive of separatist efforts, killing citizens and burning villages. The military has also been accused of encouraging radical Fulani herders to carry out attacks on separatist communities.
As both the military and opposition have been accused of violating the rights of civilians, as many as 3,000 people have been killed and over 700,000 displaced as a result of the conflict.
A resident of Ntumbo told CNN that security forces came to the village looking for separatists and burned houses in the village. She said that nine of her family members were killed.
“My sister and her family were killed in their sleep as the military torched houses because they suspected that separatist fighters were hiding in the village,” the resident, Rignyu Solange, told the news outlet. “I want the perpetrators of this act to be severely punished.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith