You Are Delaying Justice For The Killings Of 21 Cameroonian By State Forces -Rights Group Accuses Military 


The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused the Cameroonian military of delaying to deliver justice over the killing of at least 21 civilians by state forces.

The incident occurred in Ngarbuh, a village in the restive North-west region about four years ago.

In a statement on Wednesday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) decried the prolonged trial of soldiers implicated in the killings since December 2020.

“Hearings have been postponed multiple times, victims’ families have minimal participation in the proceedings, and the court has refused to admit key evidence,“ Lewis Mudge, the HRW’s director for central Africa, said.

The trial has been marred by irregularities, the group added.

The Cameroonian government has yet to comment on the criticism made by Human Rights Watch.

In February 2020, soldiers and armed vigilante members stormed Ngarbuh village which they suspected was harbouring separatist fighters. The government initially denied its forces were responsible for killing civilians and torching homes.

Following international pressure, an investigation into the incident ordered by President Paul Biya showed the soldiers and their aides killed 13 people.

However, HRW said they had evidence of at least 21 deaths, including 13 children during the military raid. Three soldiers were later arrested and charged with murder, and the case is still being heard by a military court.

But one of the lawyers representing families of the victims told the BBC his clients “are discouraged”, stating that there is “no will to serve justice in this case”.

Cameroonian forces have been accused of gross human rights violations in their battle against the Anglophone separatist fighters who are seeking independence from Cameroon. The secessionists have also come under fire for atrocities including kidnapping for ransom, torture, and killings.

The trial of the soldiers is due to resume on Thursday.