Human Rights Watch has in a fresh report citing witnesses accused soldiers of raping, ill treating and unlawfully killing civilians in Mbuluf, a locality in the restive North West region of Cameroon.
In the report dated Monday August 2, Human Rights Watch says it conducted telephone interviews with ten victims and witnesses to human rights violations by security forces, as well as with eighteen relatives of victims, journalists, and civil society activists.
The conclusions according to the report were that security forces killed two civilians, raped a 53-year-old woman, destroyed and looted at least 33 homes, shops, as well as a traditional leader’s palace in the North-West region on June 8 and 9, 2021.
« Victims and witnesses said that in the very early hours of June 9, about 150 security force members from both the regular army and elite Rapid Intervention Battalion (Bataillon d’Intervention Rapide – BIR) conducted a security operation in and around Mbuluf village, North-West region. As the forces approached the village on foot, fearful residents fled to the nearby bush… » The report partly reads.
Human Rights Watch further indicates that two Mbuluf residents said security forces stopped their group of six – a husband and wife, their two children, another man, and another woman – in the vicinity of the village as they were fleeing at around 1 or 2 a.m.
«The soldiers asked the couple where the separatist fighters were. “We said we didn’t know,” she said. “They said my husband had a gun. We said we had no gun. They said they would kill us, and then one of them raped me.”
« Other soldiers threatened and beat both men, the wife, and another member of the group. The soldiers then forced all six people to walk for about two hours to Ndzeen village… »
Separatist fighters have equally been accused of having killed a 12-year-old boy on June 6, a 51-year-old teacher on July 1 and kidnapped four humanitarian workers on June 25 among others.
Ilaria Allegrozzi, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch regrets that despite the devastating impact the crisis had had on civilians, those responsible are yet to be held accountable.
“Cameroon’s authorities should investigate and prosecute the attackers and their commanders, while the UN Security Council and other regional and international partners should impose targeted sanction against those responsible for the grave human rights violations.” She said.