HRW accuses Cameroon anglophone rebels of fresh attacks

HRW accuses Cameroon anglophone rebels of fresh attacks

Cameroon's anglophone regions have been in the grip of unrest for nearly five years
Cameroon's anglophone regions have been in the grip of unrest for nearly five years. Photo: MARCO LONGARI / AFP/File
Source: AFP

PAY ATTENTION: Click “See First” under the “Following” tab to see News on your News Feed!

Anglophone separatists in Cameroon have killed at least seven people and carried out scores of kidnappings since January, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Monday, in a further condemnation of alleged abuses by the rebels.

"Armed separatist groups are kidnapping, terrorizing, and killing civilians across the English-speaking regions with no apparent fear of being held to account by either their own leaders or Cameroonian law enforcement," Ilaria Allegrozzi, HRW's senior central Africa researcher, said in a report.

A conflict in Cameroon's Northwest Region and Southwest Region has raged for nearly five years, pitching government forces against anglophones campaigning to secede from the majority French-speaking state.

The rights watchdog said rebels had killed at least seven people, injured six more, raped a girl and kidnapped as many as 82 people since January "in an uptick of violence."

Read also

Violence at Spanish enclave sparks fear of worse to come

The separatists have targeted schools, torching at least two facilities, and attacked a university, it said.

The allegations are based on interviews with several dozen victims and witnesses as well as medical records and visual evidence, HRW said.

PAY ATTENTION: Enjoy reading our stories? Join's Telegram channel for more!

In 2017, mounting anglophone resentment at perceived discrimination snowballed into the declaration of an independent state -- the "Federal Republic of Ambazonia," an entity that is not recognised internationally.

The country's veteran president Paul Biya, 89, who has ruled with an iron fist for nearly 40 years, responded with a crackdown.

The violence has claimed more than 6,000 lives and displaced around a million people, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank.

Schools have been attacked or boycotted as perceived symbols of the state -- a campaign that in 2019 left some 850,000 children without denied access to education, according to UNICEF figures.

Read also

Ecuador president faces ouster vote on 13th day of fuel price protests

"These abusive calls (for school boycotts) trample the basic rights of an already terrorized civilian population," HRW said.

The UN and international NGOs have accused both sides of human rights abuses.

Cameroon's troubled anglophone regions
Cameroon's troubled anglophone regions. Photo: Valentina BRESCHI / AFP
Source: AFP

HRW renewed this allegation, saying government troops had committed rights violations including "extensive burning of villages, homes, and shops, killings, torture, mistreatment, incommunicado detention and rape of civilians."

On June 1, soldiers in the Northwest Region killed nine civilians, including a baby, the defence ministry said, describing the deaths as a "grave and unfortunate incident."

PAY ATTENTION: check out news exactly for YOU ➡️ find "Recommended for you" block and enjoy!

Source: AFP

Online view pixel