Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org
They had names. They were poor. They were women and their children in Cameroon’s far north where Boko Haram terrorists have been wreaking havoc since 2014. One thing though, they were never terrorists to deserve the brutal way their lives were cut short, everything captured in a viral video released weeks ago.
The video of their killings triggered outrage and condemnation around the world, including in the United States, where Cameroon still receives military and training assistance.
The Cameroonian government and sympathizers first claimed the video was shot in Mali or in any other African country where French is spoken, and not in Cameroon. Reports about arrests of some soldiers quickly followed as anger and condemnation continued to reach to the skies.
[read_more id="2" more="Read full article" less="Read less"]
But a reliable newspaper in Cameroon on Friday released the identities of the victims – two women and their children, who were blindfolded and shot so many times that the rat ta ta of gunshots was deafening.
The newspaper released not just their names, but also their village, the date of the incident and other details that have now exposed the government’s lies.
The brutal killings took place in Krawa-Mafa locality in the district of Mayo-Moskota, the Mayo-Tsanaga Department in Cameroon’s far north in April 2014, reliable Cameroonian newspaper, L’Oeil du Sahel, revealed on Friday.
Zoumtegui Ndomoko is the woman in a red shirt.
While Kelou Manatsad is the other woman.
The two women and their children were buried at the foot of the mountain visible in viral video. The mountain is called «Vizi Kokor Vegebi » and means in Mafa language “the foot of the Vegebi mountain”, L’Oeil du Sahel said.
L’Oeil du Sahel released all the details to put to bare lies by the government and even the Cameroonian Ambassador to the United States, who told the world on Tuesday that Cameroon was at peace and viral videos released were captured somewhere else, not in Cameroon.
The newspaper said the killings of the women and their children took place a kilometer away from the military post of Zeleved, which was in charge in 2014 of a vast area of land, going from Gouzda-Vreket to Tourou in Cameroon’s far north.
According to L’Oeil du Sahel, the victims were first taken to the military post and dragged to where they were executed at the foot of the mountain.
A Cameroonian activist said on Friday that those arrested for the killings of the women and their children following outrage included Lieutenant FOBASSOU Etienne; Sergent BITYALA Cyriaque Hilaire; Caporal GODWE MANA Didier Jeannot; Caporal Tsanga, second class soldiers DONOSSOU Barnabas and MANASSE Jacobai Jonathan as well as first class soldier NTIECHE FEWOU Ghisiain.
This week, another video was released and quickly went viral. It is a video you may not normally want to watch. But it is no science fiction or Photoshop. The brutal killings in the video are taking place in a village in Cameroon’s far north.
Soldiers are seen arresting unarmed civilians, including women and children as well as the elderly.
They first drag them out of their huts, set the huts on fire and order the civilians to lie to the ground faces down.
Once they face down, the soldiers begin to shoot them dead. They shoot first at close range, then from a distance, and at close range again to make sure everyone is dead.
A soldier speaking French is heard directing a colleague to kill the guy wearing a yellow pant. Another soldier is heard asking the soldiers to properly line up and fire well. “Are they still moving?” One soldier asks to ensure everyone is dead.
Yet another soldier asks his colleague what he calls this mission. The colleague replies that it’s called “mission kamikaze”. He laughs and keeps walking.
The video was released on the social media on Tuesday. It was not clear when the atrocities took place or exactly what village was involved. But the soldiers spoke French with an accent familiar in the Cameroonian capital Yaounde.
Cameroonian soldiers are engaged in a brutal war against Boko Haram terrorists, but Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have accused them of terrible war crimes.
They are shot so many times that the rat ta ta of gunshots is deafening.
On Tuesday, the Cameroonian Ambassador to the United States addressed foreign journalists, and told them Cameroon was at peace and Anglophone secessionists were a bunch of agitators being sponsored by foreign powers.
The organizers barred Mr. Simon Ateba, the publisher of Todaynewsafrica.com from the event. He was stopped at the entrance and told his reservation was rejected. He was not welcome.
In the South and North West Regions, Anglophone activists have been agitating for justice, equality and independence.
The government has massacred hundreds of activists, unarmed civilians and set entire villages on fire.
The activists have also responded with brutality, killing dozens of soldiers and burning schools.
Crisis Group has warned that Cameroon might be on the brink of a civil war.
But the International community has remained silent even as President Paul Biya prepares to run for a seventh term in office after almost four decades in power, in a country where most people live in squalor and hopelessness.