Amnesty International has conducted new research on violence in the English-speaking west of Cameroon. The English-speaking regions are the scene of a deadly conflict between the Cameroonian army and armed separatists, from the country’s English-speaking minority. Satellite images confirm testimonies coming back from the ground of civilian crimes, summary executions and destruction of homes.
Clashes between various armed groups and the army have continued unabated for almost four years in northwestern Cameroon. But it is difficult to make an accurate inventory because “these are regions that are extremely difficult to access. Few people go there and the information that comes from there is extremely fragmented … “, explains Fabien Offner, researcher at Amnesty International’s regional offices in West Africa and Central Africa, contacted by Amelia Tuletfrom the Africa service.
► The Amnesty Inquiry should be read here
“Satellite images have enabled us to confirm information, with dozens of homes destroyed, with fields that can also be burned … And these satellite images simply allow us to do a before and after,” the researcher continues.
Who is behind this destruction? “… the Cameroonian army (which) may have been involved, the separatist armed groups as well, the Fulani self-defense groups …”: it is “more than ever necessary that impartial and neutral investigations be carried out”, Fabien Offner insists.
► Also read: HRW condemns the atrocities of the separatists in the English-speaking zone
“The African Commission on Human and Human Rights has been asking the Cameroonian authorities since 2018 to carry out a fact-finding mission. This has so far remained a dead letter. Much more needs to be done to be able to clearly provide very accurate information about what is happening in these areas, where we only very partially know what is happening ”.
► Also for listening: toEnglish Cameroon: facing murder increase, what result?
This violence, for which civilians pay a high price, claimed thousands of victims and nearly 700,000 displaced. Among the recently destroyed confirmations confirmed by Amnesty, as several villages in the Nwa area, in February 2021, caused the flight to more than 4,000 people.