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Human Rights Watch Reacts To Report On Ngarbuh Massacre


Human Rights Watch has hailed the findings made public on the massacre in Ngarbuh as an important first step in establishing the truth around the killing of civilians by government forces.

 

The Central Africa director of the organization, Lewis Mudge, has however expressed concern that the report should not be a stone-alone-action.


"A more indepth investigation is needed to establish a clear timeline of events and to identify all those responsible, including anyone further up the chain of command, for the purpose of prosecuting them", he said.

 

While underlining that the organization has documented multiple abusive counter insurgency operations by the security forces in the North-West and South-West regions since 2017,Human Rights Watch stressed that the attack in Ngarbuh was not an isolated case. The organization affirms that it was part of a chain of human rights violations by the security forces in the two regions.

 

Despite considering the report as a positive step, Human Rights Watch regrets that the government did not make public the full report, rendering it difficult for anyone to understand how the commission came to its conclusions.

 

There are a good number of disparities in the report of the Inquiry Commission as made public by the government and that earlier published by Human Rights Watch. In its findings, Human Rights Watch had reported that "government forces, including members of the Rapid Intervention Battalion, and armed ethnic Fulani killed 21 civilians in Ngarbuh, burned five homes, pillaged scores of other properties and beat residents." The report had further quoted victims and witnesses of the incident saying there was no exchange between the military and the separatist fighters.

 

On the other hand, the commission found out that security forces and members of Local Vigilance Groups were on a reconnaissance mission to the area when they confronted armed separatists, killing five of them and 13 civilians in the exchange. Contrary to the findings of Human Rights Watch, the commission identifies a sergeant, a gendarme and a soldier as responsible for the killings and indicts a battalion commander for failing to supervise the operation.

It should be recalled that the government had initially rejected the report issued by Human Rights Watch in which government forces were blamed for the massacre in Ngarbuh.

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https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/04/24/cameroon-massacre-findings-made-public

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