Friday, 8 December 2017

Cameroon’s Government Forces Accused Of Murder and Rape

Cameroon’s government has ordered thousands of villagers to leave their homes in the Anglophone southwest region as it deploys troops to root out armed separatists who have vowed to loosen Biya’s long grip on power.

Residents fleeing English-speaking parts of Cameroon have accused government forces of killing, raping and harassing them.

They say that soldiers manning checkpoints on their road to safety are like "hungry lions on the loose".

The action against Anglophone activists in Cameroon, some of whom called for the establishment of a separate state, follows President Paul Biya declaring war on secessionists.
Cameroon Government Forces Accused Of Murder and Rape
English-speaking people make up less than a fifth of the more than 23 million Cameroonians.

Cameroon’s government has ordered thousands of villagers to leave their homes in the Anglophone southwest region as it deploys troops to root out armed separatists who have vowed to loosen Biya’s long grip on power.

The deployment marks an escalation of Biya’s year-long crackdown on peaceful protests in the English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions that has killed dozens of civilians and forced thousands to flee their homes in fear of reprisals.

Now, the government is using force to confront an insurgency that has sprung up alongside the civil unrest.

The separatists have killed at least eight soldiers and policemen over the past month as part of their campaign to break from the capital Yaounde in Francophone Cameroon and form a separate state called Ambazonia.

Authorities of the Manyu Division in the Southwest on 1 December gave the order to evacuate 16 villages across the region. They warned that anyone deciding to stay “will be treated as accomplices or perpetrators of ongoing criminal occurrences.”

Motorbikes, a preferred mode of transport for separatist attackers, were ordered off the roads between 7pmand 6am.

“People ran helter skelter when they saw the statement,” said Agbor Valery, a lawyer in Mamfe, which is near some of the evacuated villages. He said people were afraid of being rounded up and put in jail, as has happened since September in other areas of the English-speaking part of the country.

“If you go to the villages, everyone has fled. Only the old people stayed. The streets are quiet. It is highly militarised. At night, you hear gunfire.”

Valery said he saw hundreds of troops and truck loads of military equipment arrive in Mamfe on Sunday that were then deployed to the surrounding villages.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

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