Bamenda Killings: Military, Amba fighters trade accusations 0

Cameroon’s military says it has arrested scores of rebels suspected in the shooting deaths of 10 civilians Sunday in the northwest town of Bamenda. The military says separatists disguised themselves as government troops to try to frame them for the killings, which a rebel spokesperson denies.

Bamenda city mayor Achombong Paul, who visited Bamenda Regional Hospital on Tuesday morning, said residents of the city are living in fear after Sunday’s brutal killings.

“Every human life has value. Every human being has a right to live and nobody for whatever reason has a right to take away the life of an individual,” he said. “We cannot live in a town where there is chaos, fear and all the kinds of atrocities going on at the same time. We will never move forward with this attitude. No, we won’t. People can’t go to work, nothing works in this town because people are scared to be killed.”

Hospital director Nsame Denis said at least 600 people have visited the hospital since Sunday’s killings to find out if their family or friends are among the victims.

“We received in total 12 victims of firearm injuries. Out of this 12, one is in the intensive care, one took treatment and went home, and at the level of the mortuary, we have 10 corpses amongst whom three are female and seven are males ranging from 24 to 56 years,” Nsame said.

Cameroon’s military, in a July 17 statement, said about 12 heavily armed fighters dressed in military gear similar to that of the central African state’s military shot indiscriminately at civilians at Nacho Junction in Bamenda.

The military said scores of suspects have been arrested in a crackdown operation less than 48 hours after the killings.

Deben Tchoffo, governor of the Northwest region, said fighters want to create panic among civilians who collaborate with the military by reporting suspected separatists.

“I would like, on behalf of the head of state, to assure the population that measures are being taken by the security services to locate the authors of that barbaric act and sanction them. I would like to strongly condemn those attacks by a terrorist group,” he said.

Separatists on social media, including Facebook and WhatsApp, denied responsibility for the killings. They said government troops were responsible, asserting that the military wants to give separatists a bad image to the international community.

The Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa reports that Sunday’s killing comes two days after Cameroon’s military was said to have raided Awing Quarter, another neighborhood in Bamenda, and killed at least five people.

Northwest Region Governor Tchoffo acknowledges that civilians were killed in Awing Quarter but blames fighters for the killings.

The Cameroon government said people wounded in both attacks are being treated free of charge in hospitals in Bamenda.

Rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and the Center for Human Rights and Democracy, accuse both the military and rebels of abuses, including rape, torture and killings.

Cameroon’s Northwest and Southwest regions have seen years of deadly battles between government troops and separatists fighting to carve out an English-speaking state from French-speaking majority Cameroon.

The conflict has killed more than 6,000 people and displaced more than 760,000 others, according to the International Crisis Group.

Source: VOA