Buea-based Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, CHRDA, says some 176 villages in the troubled South West and North West regions marred by civil conflict have been raided and partially or completely “burned down by state defense forces during crackdown on alleged armed separatists.”
According to CHRDA, out of the 96 affected villages in the South West region, 67 were severely affected while out of the 80 affected villages in the North West, 48 got seriously razed.
“In an attempt to crackdown on separatists, the state Defense and security forces have engaged in perpetual raiding of local communities, civilian casualties abound both in terms of life and property”, the report published on their website reads adding that.
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“This act of burning villages is a breach of classical common article 3 to the Four Geneva Convention 1949 and the additional protocol II to the same Convention dealing with the non-international conflicts. It is also a breach of national and international human rights norms and a host of other laws.”
Among the localities affected in the South West region are Muea, Maumu, Mile 16 Muyenge, Ikata, Malende, and Yoke, Lebialem, Manyu, Meme, Ndian, and Kupe Muanenguba.
In the North West Region; Bali, Nkambe, Frua Awa, Menchum, Bafut and Mbatu are among the affected localities.
The government of Cameroon has denied accusations that pro-government forces burn down villages but on a separate occasion, then Minister of Communication, Issa Tchiroma Bakary told a DW that the military does not burn down villages but hideout of separatist fighters whom he said are trying to destabilize Cameroon.
Last week, Cameroon Minister of defense while on an official ceremony in the South West cautioned security forces against terrorizing the population and rather carryout their mission which is to serve and protect them.