MBONGE, 27 March 2021 – Colonial occupation forces from French-speaking Cameroon have massacred dozens of civilians in the small village of Mbonge.
The village is situated in the outskirts of the economic capital town of Kumba in the southern zone of the English-speaking self-declared breakaway Republic of Ambazonia aka Southern Cameroons.
Kumba was the site in October last year where BIR officers masquerading as Ambazonian restoration forces massacred eight school children during a raid on a classroom on 24 October 2020.
Pictures showing the Mbonge Massacre, filmed and leaked by the executioners themselves, have gone viral on social media.
The photos provide few of the sketchy details that are, so far, known of the massacre.
Africa Freedom Network counted 27 mostly young men, but also at least one elderly man and a very young boy, in one of the pictures.
Social media postings on the massacres said at least 40 civilians were slaughtered in the incident.
In a tweet late Friday, journalist Innocent Chia said five kids were among the victims.
The 27 victims that can be counted on the picture appear to have been rounded up and made to sit on the bare earth.
“Some of the people were having a meeting when the soldiers raided the site,” a relation of one of the victims told Africa Freedom Network by phone early Saturday morning.
“Other people were just randomly picked up. Others were coming back from their farms when they were stopped and arrested,” the source continued, speaking under condition of anonymity.
“Everyone was led to the execution field and made to sit down on the ground. Before long, bodies were littered all over the place. It was over,” our source explained choking on tears.
The setting for the executions resembles a big family compound or a school, with several buildings, laid out in rectangular shape.
The buildings are set out to allow for a common courtyard in the form of a small football pitch in between the buildings on each side of the rectangular shape they form.
The 27 victims seen in the first picture were probably rounded up in a “cordon and search” operation [known as “calle calle”, in French].
In a tweet posted Friday, journalist Innocent Chia alleged that the victims included grandfathers.
In another picture, the mortal remains of the previously rounded-up people can be seen strewn all over the pitch or courtyard, having been summarily executed off camera.
The position of some of the bodies suggests, when compared to where the individuals were seated on the bare earth in the first picture, that some of the victims probably tried to run as the executions were underway before being caught by and brought down by the bullets that killed them.
Executioners are wearing the uniforms of the Cameroonian military with the signature black T-shirts and bag packs of Cameroon’s Israeli-trained and American-equipped elite terrorist unit “escadron de la mort” [death squadron] known as BIR.
It would seem that the pictures of the executions were shot and shared by one of the BIR executioners.
One of the pictures displays the name of a certain Patrick Mba’lla, likely the owner of the smartphone on which the images were immortalized.
Another of the pictures shows a group of six Cameroonian BIR officers standing and inspecting sets of military-style uniforms and berets that have been spread out on the ground outside one of the buildings.
Yet another picture shows a few artisanal weapons, two pump rifles, and bullets for hunting guns.
One of the BIR soldiers can be seen in the picture bending over to inspect pipes that some Ambazonian restoration forces are known to use to transform into artisanal rockets, powered by gun powder, scrap metal, nails, and fuel.
Cameroonian colonial forces in Southern Cameroons hare known for executing civilians and then placing weapons in the hands of their victims to make-belief that their victims were armed, dangerous, and actively engaged in combat at the time of their execution.
It would appear that some of those rounded up were likely members of an armed Ambazonian restoration force.
Reports are that the BIR “escadron de la mort” took their victims unawares, rounding them up and herding them like sheep into the middle of the courtyard which was transformed into an execution site.
The presence of at least one old man and no fewer than one young boy – five, according to journalist Innocent Chia – suggests that the BIR executioners rounded up anyone they could lay their hands on, irrespective of whether they were self-defense volunteers or not.
The execution of enemy combatants taken prisoners of war is a war crime.
Under Article 13, first paragraph, of the 1949 Geneva Convention III, prohibits “any unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power causing death… of a prisoner of war in its custody”.
The summary execution of Ambazonian restoration forces on a wide scale may constitute not only war crimes but crimes against humanity.
Cameroonian occupation forces in Southern Cameroons have systematically and summarily executed anyone they suspect of being a member of Ambazonian restoration forces or anyone suspected of supporting Ambazonian pro-independence fighters.
The fact that the executioners themselves documented and shared pictures of the Mbonge Massacre on social media has caused some sources in Kumba to claim that the massacre was staged.
African Freedom Network could not independently verify the information Saturday.
One source in Kumba said some of the pictures, notably of seized weapons, may be related to the events surrounding the execution last week of an Ambazonian commander, General Spirito, who was killed by BIR officers and his mortal remains paraded in the streets of Kumba like a trophy by Biya colonial forces.
Cameroonian colonial forces in Southern Cameroons have summarily executed more than 13,000 Ambazonian civilians ever since Cameroon’s President Paul Biya declared war against pro-independence campaigners on 30 November 2017.
Pro-independence campaigners seek the restoration of the independence of English-speaking Southern Cameroons from French-speaking Cameroon, which obtained independence on 1 January 1960 within international boundaries that did not include Southern Camerons.
The United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 1609(XV) on 21st April 1961 to recognize that the independence of Southern Camerons would become effective on 1st October 1961.
The more densely populated and militarily stronger French-speaking Cameroon abused the loose confederation arrangement of “two states, equal in status” that was seal between the two Cameroons.
The deal should have created a confederation similar to the one which failed between Senegal and The Gambia, with each country going their separate ways once it failed.
Instead, French-speaking Cameroon with the support of France – both of whom voted against the independence of Southern Cameroons at the United Nations – recolonized Southern Cameroons, creating the problem that is at the root cause of the ongoing genocidal violence in Ambazonia today.