The United Nations human rights wing has condemned mass killings and abductions currently going on in Cameroon’s English speaking regions.
Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, said in a statement on Tuesday: The UN regularly receive reports of abductions, reportedly carried out by armed secessionist groups. Just over the past two weeks, we have received reports of the abduction of eight students and one school official in Kumba, in the Southwest, and of at least 13 nuns near the locality of Bamessing – Ndop in the Northwest. They were all subsequently released, after some parents paid ransoms and the Catholic Diocese of Kumba intervened.
She also sated that the UN have also received reports of armed secessionist groups attacking schools and destroying school buildings, which, coupled with the worrying abductions, has resulted in many children being unable to access their right to education since the violence broke out in October last year. There are also reports of the abduction and killing of police officers and administrative authorities.
In her statement, Ravina said the Cameroonian armed forces have allegedly carried out a number of extrajudicial executions in the Northwest and Southwest regions.
“On 20 October, in the village of Rom, in the Northwest town of Nwa, security forces reportedly killed four villagers during a confrontation with armed secessionist groups, while on 24 September, two men suspected of being secessionist fighters were reportedly killed on the spot. There have been numerous such reports in the preceding months”.
“What began as protests in October 2016 in the Northwest and Southwest regions against structural discrimination escalated into violence in 2017, and the situation has worsened considerably since then. The violence has led to massive internal displacement – at least 436,000 people are believed to be internally displaced, while more than 30,000 have fled to Nigeria since September last year”.
In the end the UN rights official said her organisation strongly condemns the human rights violations and abuses that have plagued the people in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon.
“We call on armed secessionists groups to refrain from the use of violence. We urge the Government to respect and protect the rights of all, to address the long-standing grievances of the communities in these regions, including through dialogue, to promptly investigate all cases of violations reportedly involving its security and defence forces, and to hold perpetrators responsible”.
“We also reiterate our readiness to work with the Government of Cameroon, including through an assessment mission to the Northwest and Southwest regions of the country that will enable us to be able to look into the human rights situation first-hand and engage with the Government accordingly on ways to address it”.