14, February 2019
The United States embassy in Cameroon has asked the government to probe a deadly hospital arson that claimed four lives at the Kumba District hospital on Monday.
The Embassy reacted to the attack in a February 12 statement stressing that the government must probe, hold perpetrators accountable and also publicly publish results of the said probe.
“We call on the Cameroonian government to conduct a transparent investigation into this crime, to ensure the courts hold the perpetrators accountable, and to make the Cameroonian people aware of its findings,” the statement read in part. We urge both sides in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon to allow unfettered access to humanitarian and healthcare workers, and never to attack hospitals or health centers.”
There is a raging back and forth over who were responsible for the attack. The government through the South West region’s governor has condemned the attack. Whiles separatist elements operating in the area are usually blamed for such attacks on social service outlets, the army has also been widely reported as carrying out attacks on institutions believed to be serving the separatists. The hospital was serving a large pool of patients given that most smaller health outfits had been closed due to threats by separatists.
General Melingui of the Cameroun army had publicly admitted that forces under his command torched civilian and other protected settlements in the execution of the senseless war. For this admission, he was promptly relieved of his command. That public admission of responsibility, removed reasonable doubts about the forces torching of civilian and protected settlements as weapons of war targeting civilians and civilian objects.
Short of a similar admission in the Kumba Hospital case, it will take an independent investigation by internationally recognized or certified forensic experts to apportion responsibility for this despicable crime, although going by the prior admission by General Melingui, the consistent pattern of conduct in which the torching of civilian settlements he admitted ,may provide similar facts evidence to establish criminal responsibility for this and other crimes targeting civilian and other protected settlements.
Full statement from the U.S. Embassy in Cameroon:
The United States condemns the arson attack on Kumba District Hospital, in Southwest Region. The fire is reported to have resulted in the deaths of several patients and caused considerable damage during the early morning hours of February 11.
We express our deepest condolences to the victims’ families and our admiration for the courageous medical staff.
We call on the Cameroonian government to conduct a transparent investigation into this crime, to ensure the courts hold the perpetrators accountable, and to make the Cameroonian people aware of its findings.
We urge both sides in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon to allow unfettered access to humanitarian and healthcare workers, and never to attack hospitals or health centers.
We appeal to both sides of the Anglophone conflict to forswear further violence and enter into a broad-based dialogue without pre-conditions.
Reported by Africa News and Cameroon Concord News