WASHINGTON, DC, 12 JULY 2018 – Amnesty International confirmed Thursday that Cameroonian soldiers perpetrated the shocking extrajudicial execution of two women and two young children caught on video and gone viral on social media.
In a statement, the London-based rights organization said “extensive analysis of the weapons, dialogue and uniforms that feature in the video, paired with digital verification techniques and testimonies taken from the ground, all strongly suggest that the perpetrators of the executions are Cameroonian soldiers.”
Amnesty says its expert investigators found “credible evidence” linking the “the horrific extrajudicial executions of two women and two young children” to Cameroonian soldiers.
One of the children executed was probably less than 10 years while the other was a toddler, strapped to the back of a woman, presumably its mom.
As the soldiers approach an area of open field right off the road where the four were executed in cold blood, one can hear one of the soldiers suggest that the children be taken off the back of the woman. To which, another soldier responds: “No need for that. It (the child) will be executed along with its mother.”
Within seconds of hearing these words, the women and young children – the less than 10-year-old girl is holding onto her mother’s hand – when they are separated, blindfolded, made to sit or partially lie on the ground, and then bullets rain on them.
One soldier is heard complaining that one of the children has not died. At which point, another soldier, fires another round of up to eight bullets. The shooting appears not to end, forcing even one of the soldiers to call out for the soldier firing to stop shooting.
Satisfied with their gruesome crime, the soldiers can be heard insisting on the person filming the execution to keep his fear aside and ensure that s/he does a good job with filming. One soldier also calls out on someone to pour some dust on the bodies, left lying on the side of heaps of stones which look like the tombs of previous victims.
Cameroonian authorities on Wednesday called the video “fake”. Amnesty said Thursday that such a qualification of “this shocking video… simply doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. We can provide credible evidence to the contrary,” Amnesty added.
“Given the gravity of these horrific acts – the cold blooded and calculated slaughter of women and young children – these hasty and dismissive denials cast serious doubt over whether any investigation will be genuine,” said Samira Daoud, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s West Africa Office.
The weapon of execution, according to Amnesty is a Galil, carried by a small subset of the Cameroon Army. “Both the weapons and uniforms of the soldiers in the video are indicative of the Cameroonian army, and display patterns consistent with a number of possible units, including regular infantry and the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR), the special forces of the Cameroonian army.”
“The person filming the video specifically identifies two members of the group as soldiers. The first is a second –rank solder (soldat de deuxime grade) who he names as “Cobra”, the second a Master Corporal (caporal chef) who is named as “Tchotcho”. These names mean that the group can be identified.
Amnesty analysts say the video was likely filmed in the Mayo Tsanaga area in the Far North Region of Cameroon.
“While the crimes under international law, including war crimes, and human rights violations committed by Boko Haram in Cameroon are despicable, absolutely nothing can justify the crimes being committed by some members of the armed forces,” reads the statement in part.
“Amnesty International is calling for those suspected of criminal responsibility for these crimes under international law, including superiors who knew or should have known that subordinates were committing the extrajudicial executions, to be brought to justice in fair trials before ordinary civilian courts.”
Cameroonian soldiers are perpetrated similar acts of extrajudicial executions all across Ambazonia, where no fewer than 151 people were killed in May 2018 alone – being three times higher than the average number of people killed per month in Cameroon’s fight against the Islamic sect, Boko Haram.
The regime this week is rounding up and “disappearing” Ambazonians in French-speaking towns of the Republic of Cameroon, including notably Douala.
Hopefully, this one incident opens the eyes of Amnesty International to the many lies the evil regime in Yaounde tells every time they are caught pants down. In the past, Amnesty International along with media outlets like the BBC, Washington Post, Reuters, etc. have given the regime a pass – questioning every allegation made by pro-independence groups and reprinting as gospel any claims made by the Biya regime.
In the three days to Wednesday, reports said Cameroonian soldiers had executed and dumped the mortal remains of no fewer than six people in Njinikijem, an outskirt of Belo in Ambazonia’s Northern Zone. Troops executed a woman in the Acha neighborhood of Belo. Even as the presidency of dictator Paul Biya said late Thursday that it will investigate this particular incident of extrajudicial killings, the regime has largely refused to investigate extrajudicial executions in Ambazonia and other horrific crimes including the extrajudicial executions of mentally challenged Ambazonians and the burning alive of elderly people in their homes as part of a scorched-earth policy.