Tag Archives: Cameroon

Cameroon: MEPs concern about human rights

Strasbourg 26.11.2021 MEPs are deeply concerned about the human rights situation in Cameroon. The adopted European Parliament resolution notes that the country is facing a number of political and security challenges simultaneously, including threats from terrorist group Boko Haram in its Far North region and an internal armed separatist rebellion, which has been ongoing for almost five years in its Anglophone Northwest and Southwest regions. The latter conflict between militias and state authorities has so far killed thousands of people, witnessed heinous abuses, and led to a full-blown humanitarian crisis in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions.

Parliament urges both the Cameroonian government and the political and military leaders of separatist groups to agree on a humanitarian ceasefire and encourages the parties to the conflict to agree on confidence-building measures, such as freeing non-violent political prisoners and lifting school boycotts. MEPs call on President Paul Biya’s government and the Anglophone separatists to immediately re-initiate peace talks, while pleading for the international community, especially the African Union, Central African states and the EU, to help facilitate dialogue by offering to take on a mediation role.

The resolution also calls on the Cameroonian authorities to stop bringing people to trial before military tribunals, in particular civilians, predetermining outcomes and imposing the death penalty, which is unlawful under international human rights law. MEPs remind Cameroon that it must uphold the right of all citizens to a fair trial before independent courts of law and recall that military courts should not have jurisdiction over the civilian population.

The text was adopted by 614 votes in favour, 32 against and 40 abstentions.

Boko Haram killings in Cameroon

Militants of Boko Haram are suspected in killings of five civilians and injured several others on August 31 night in raids on the remote localities of Kouyape and Talakachi of Cameroon’s Far North region, according to local authorities. (Image: illustration)

In Talakachi, one man was killed and three others injured after the militants attacked the house of a respected community figure, officials said.

The police officer said September 1 bombing followed a Boko Haram raid on a village, adding information about a terrorist suisidal incident “The people fled and a young man strapped with explosives chased them and blew himself up.”

The government uses the term Boko Haram to refer loosely to the Sahel jihadist group of the same name, as well as the breakaway Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) group.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees said it “firmly condemns this attack which killed seven civilians and wounded 14 others in Kouyape village.

“The suicide bomb attack took place near Kolofata, close to the border with Nigeria, where some 18,000 internally displaced people have sought safety over the past seven years,” the refugee agency said.

In Kouyape, the militants raided a camp for internally displaced persons (IDP) who were asleep, killing four people and wounding several others, according to several security sources, who said the attackers probably used an improvised explosive device on the IDPs.

The attack on the IDPs was the second of its kind in about a month in the volatile region.

In early August, at least 18 IDPs were killed when assailants threw an explosive device, higly likely a grenade, on a site hosting about 800 IDPs near the village of Nguetchewe, in the region, according to Cameroon army.

Cameroon’s far north, an impoverished strip of land between Chad and Nigeria, has been a regular target of raids and assaults by Boko Haram since 2013.

The jihadist group launched its insurgency in Nigeria in 2009 before spilling over into neighbouring Cameroon, Niger and Chad.

It has killed more than 30,000 people, forcing three million to flee their homes, according to the UN.

“We are horrified by these senseless attacks on people who have been torn from their villages, fleeing violence perpetrated by armed gangs which rage in the region, only to be stripped of safety again after they just found refuge elsewhere,” said Olivier Guillaume Beer, UNHCR Representative in Cameroon.

“The killing of innocent civilians has to stop,” he said. “We call on armed groups to respect the rights and lives of civilian populations.”

The attack came a month after 18 people died and 15 were injured by an armed group on the Nguetchewe IDP site. Two young suicide bombers were involved in the attacks, according to officials.

Boko Haram has staged nearly 90 attacks in Cameroon since January.

On August 25, ISWAP attacked a Cameroonian island near the Nigerian border killing 14 people, according to Nigerian authorities.

Security experts say ISWAP is extending its grip and influence around Lake Chad, a vast, marshy area also shared by Niger and Chad.

The police officer said on September 1 bombing followed a Boko Haram raid on a village, adding: “The people fled and a young man strapped with explosives chased them and blew himself up.”

The Cameroonian government uses the term Boko Haram to refer loosely to the Nigerian jihadist group of the same name, as well as the breakaway Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) group.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees said it “firmly condemns this attack which killed seven civilians and wounded 14 others in Kouyape village.

“The suicide bomb attack took place near Kolofata, close to the border with Nigeria, where some 18,000 internally displaced people have sought safety over the past seven years,” the refugee agency said.

Cameroon’s far north, an impoverished strip of land between Chad and Nigeria, has been a regular target of raids and assaults by Boko Haram since 2013.

The jihadist group launched its insurgency in Nigeria in 2009 before brkeaking into neighbouring Cameroon, Niger and Chad.

It has killed more than 30,000 people, forcing three million to flee their homes, according to the UN.

“We are horrified by these senseless attacks on people who have been torn from their villages, fleeing violence perpetrated by armed gangs which rage in the region, only to be stripped of safety again after they just found refuge elsewhere,” said Olivier Guillaume Beer, UNHCR Representative in Cameroon.

“The killing of innocent civilians has to stop,” he said. “We call on armed groups to respect the rights and lives of civilian populations.”

The attack came a month after 18 people died and 15 were injured by an armed group on the Nguetchewe IDP site. Two young suicide bombers were involved in the attacks, according to officials.

Boko Haram has engaged in nearly 90 attacks in Cameroon since January.

On August 25, ISWAP attacked a Cameroonian island near the Nigerian border killing 14 people, according to Nigerian authorities.

Security experts say ISWAP is extending its grip and influence around Lake Chad, a vast, marshy area also shared by Niger and Chad.

Cameroon: Islamists attack refugee camp

Islamist group Boko Haram is suspected to be responsible for killing of 15 people and leaving the other six wounded in a grenade attack on a camp for displaced people in northern Cameroon on Sunday,August 2, a local official told. The village is located in the Mozogo district, close to the Nigerian border in the Far North region.

In the early hours, assailants threw a grenade into a group of sleeping people inside the camp in the village of Nguetchewe, said district mayor, Medjeweh Boukar. At present the camp is hosting around 800 people, he said.

Boukar was informed by the camp residents that 15 people had died. A security official confirmed the attack and the death toll. The wounded were taken to a nearby hospital, they added. The image of mourners around a grave appeared on social media.

“The attackers arrived with a woman who carried the grenade into the camp,” Boukar said, underlinging that women and children were among the victims.

Over the past month there have been twenty incursions and attacks by suspected Islamist militants, Boukar said.

The other Boko Haram suspect attack took place in State Borno, Nigeria, on July 30.

Boko Haram has been fighting for a decade to establish an Islamic caliphate on the territory of Nigeria. «6 people killed, 27 wounded by 4 explosives fired into Borno state capital #Maiduguri, by suspected #BokoHaram insurgents yesterday 30 Jul, #Nigeria police reports. Attack, following failed attempt to invade army barracks 13 Jul, is 2nd major breach of city’s security in 3 weeks» wrote on his Twitter micro blog Nnamdi Obasi, the senior adviser for International Crisis group from Nigeria.

The violence, which has cost the lives of 30,000 people and displaced millions more, has frequently spilled over into neighbouring Cameroon, Niger and Chad.

Image above: social media

Cameroon neglected conflict

English-speaking separatists conflict in Cameroon has been rated as the most-neglected crisis in the world by the Norwegian Refugee Council. The annual list of neglected crises is based on three criteria: lack of funding, lack of media attention, and political and diplomatic neglect.

The Anglophone minority are fighting for autonomy to re-establish their cultural identity after decades of neglect by the central government and the French-speaking majority.

A group of the separatists have declared autonomy over two regions, the perspective rejected by President Paul Biya. Some African media reported in the beginning of June that Nigeria and Cameroon would donate part of their territories to form a new state identified as Ambazonia, being created by the United Nations. The acting Director-General of the National Boundary Commission (NBC), Mr. Adamu Adaji dismissed there reports that UN planned to cede 24 local government areas to a new country. However the have been not much of political will form the behalf of the international community to resolve the ongoing conflict.

The report also highlighted the ongoing armed conflict in the Sahel region, that includes Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, which has resulted in the deployment of military forces from a host of European nations. There are nine African nations in the list of 10, with Venezuela being the only non-African this year.

 

Niger and Burkina Faso appeared on the list for the first time.

Humanitarian crises in all countries mentioned in this year’s list are expected to worsen throughout 2020, aggravated by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Cameroon has also been hit by a refugee crisis from the neighbouring Central African Republic (CAR) and continuous attacks in the north from the Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

Protests against French majority rule in Cameroon’s English-speaking northwest and southwest regions broke out in November  2016 after decades of heated debates on how both English and French-speaking cultures and languages can be more equitably represented in public life. The protesters amplified demands by Anglophone lawyers and teachers to have the Common Law and the English education system in their regions.

Cameroon’s English-speaking minority makes up 20% of the country while the French-speaking majority makes up the other 80%.

Clashes between separatist groups and state police and military have led to at least 2,000 deaths and about 500,000 people displaced. English-speaking separatist groups in southern Cameroon seek to break from French-majority Cameroon and create Ambazonia, a new nation.

By January 2017, the Cameroon government shut down the internet in its English-speaking regions for more than a year. The internet blackout — which lasted until March 2018 — occurred after a significant volume of images of torture and death appeared online that the government intended to prevent from being seen.

Next to French and English there are over 200 languages and cultures in Cameroon.

Cameroon: EU promotes inclusive dialogue

We have expressed out support to Switzerland, mediating in the crisis, and we would like to promote a political dialogue which will be accepted by all stakeholders” the European External Actions Service spokesperson said, reflecting upon the latest episode of violence in Cameroon where the mayor of Mamfe, the youngest the country, was assassinated recently.

European diplomacy has taken note of the violence episode in the south-west of the Cameroon, where Mayor of Mamfe was killed, one more act reflecting profound crisis which has been ongoing for some years, effecting the country. The EU has been calling the government and the separatists to do their utmost to put an an end to the down spiral of violence and engage into constructive inclusive dialog, considering interests of all stakeholders.

The EU has been continuously expressing concerns about violations of human rights that are effecting the population.

Via the EU delegation in Cameroon the European diplomacy is engaged in a regular political dialogue with the authorities and the stakeholders as “civil society and religious leaders to encourage them to come up with the peaceful solution to the peaceful solution to the crisis” the spokesperson of the EU diplomacy added.

Cameroon mayor on errand killed

In Cameroon the attack on the mayor’s convoy happened as he was travelling from Mamfe to the nearby village of Eshobi, state broadcaster CRTV said.

Ashu Priestley Ojong, mayor of Mamfe, approximately 500km (300 miles) from the capital Yaounde, was killed by the “terrorist secessionists” on May 10 in the morning, Bernard Okalia Bilai said in a statement on May 11.

The convoy travelled there after receiving a tip-off that some rebels would be laying down their arms, the report said.

Ojong is among a few senior elected officials killed in the conflict between Cameroon’s army and the English-speaking militias. He was elected in February in legislative and municipal polls the separatist rebels insisted to be boycotted.

English speakers are the liguistic minority, and represent one-fifth of the 24 million Cameroonians, who are mainly French-speaking.

The conflict began after the government cracked down violently on Enlgish-speakers peaceful protests by lawyers and teachers in 2016 who complained of marginalisation by the French-speaking majority.

Years of neglected grievances produced a declaration of independence in the Anglophone regions in October 2017, which was followed by a government crackdown.

The declaration has not been recognised internationally and President Paul Biya (87),in power for almost four decades, has definitely refused demands to return to a federal system.

However, the government has lately decentralised some of its powers after a “national dialogue” on the anglophone crisis which was nevertheless boycotted by the separatists.

Human Rights groups have accused both sides of atrocities in the conflict, which has left more than 3,000 dead, 700,000 displaced, and severe disruption in health and education systems.

Cameroon explosion amid celebrations

Detonation of explosives triggered panic at ceremony in Bamenda, English-speaking town North-West of Cameroon. Suspicions focused on separatists who had vowed to disrupt events, so far ten wounded have been reported. (Image: social media).

At least ten people were injured on March 8 in Bamenda, during an explosion during the International Women’s Rights Day parade, local media reports.

Half of the people affected are security agents who ensured public order during the parade in the center of the city.

According to the same sources, the remotely operated explosive device was placed on the scene the previous night presumably by independence activists from the English-speaking regions.

According to social media one person was killed by the explosion: the other unconfirmed reports say one person has died from wounds, and eight received life threatening injuries.

A few hours earlier, two simultaneous attacks, still attributed to separatists, had taken place overnight at the gendarmerie brigade and at the police station in the town of Galim (West) bordering the North West. There police officers, two female gendarmes and a civilian in police custody were injured, some social media sources claim claim that some of the wounded died later.

According to a security official on duty in the city, around twenty heavily armed attackers arrived on motorcycles after having succeeded in paralyzing the electricity supply line. After their crime, they took over the direction of the North West region with several weapons and ammunition, local media reports.

Сameroon soldiers on trial for homicide

Cameroonian military accused in homicide of two women and two children face justice after the incident caused wave of indignation worldwide. The trial started today behind closed doors, media reports.

Government and army officials initially qualified the video as “fake news” aimed at damging the government’s image, but later announced arrests in the case.

The sources said the trial began on Monday in a court in Yaounde, capital of the West African country.

Six of the soldiers admitted to having participated in the killings but underlined that they obyed the order to open fire, said to Reuters sources, who were not authorised to speak publicly about the case.

The commander has denied giving the order, the sources said.

EU diplomacy welcomes Kamto liberation

“President Biya’s decision to stop military court proceedings against several leaders and activists of political parties and movements, including the “Mouvement pour la renaissance du Cameroun” and its president, Maurice Kamto, represents an important gesture of appeasement” says the text of the statement by the spokesperson of the European External Action Servie on the latest developments in Cameroon.

“It is likely to facilitate the search for solutions to the challenges faced by the country.”

Russian sailors abducted in Cameroon

The whereabouts of three Russian citizens from the crew of the vessel attacked in the Gulf of Guinea, close to Cameroon port of Douala on August 15, remain unknown,  the Foreign Ministry announced. (Image above: illustration).

“Based on the incoming information, on August 15, near the port of Douala (the Republic of Cameroon), unknown perpetrators attacked a cargo vessel “Marmalaita” belonging to the Danish company Ultrabulk, navigating under the flag of Antigua and Barbuda. According to the recruiting agency Marlow Navigation Russia, located in St. Petersburg, the attackers kidnapped eight members of the crew, among them three citizens of the Russian Federation,” the ministry informed.

According to the Russian Embassy in Yaounde, Cameroonian officials and representatives of the ship-owner company are currently investigating the incident. Russian diplomats actively cooperate with the governmental bodies in Cameroon and ship-owners in order to ensure the release of Russian citizens, the ministry added.

On August 15 the AFP agency reported, citing a Cameroon’s Navy source, that unknown perpetrators had abducted sailors from a vessel near the port of Douala. According to the source, “the kidnappers are probably Nigerian pirates.”

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