Amnesty International says its experts have verified two videos from Cameroon’s Anglophone regions that, two years after peaceful protests were met by military force under President Paul Biya, now demonstrate escalating violence in the West African nation.
The first video shows the decapitation and mutilation of a gendarme, presented by someone claiming to be a member of the Amabazonia armed separatist group. The second video is connected to the first and adds information about the seizure of the gendarme’s AK Chinese Type 56 weapon.
“Amnesty is not yet in a position to independently confirm the exact location of where the videos were shot, but analysis suggests it might be in the area of Belo, in the North West region which has been badly affected by the crisis,” the international NGO said.
Amnesty also documented attacks on ordinary citizens and students, and appealed to the armed separatists to stop.
“With the upcoming elections in Cameroon, we have reason to fear a further upsurge in violence,” said Samira Daoud, Amnesty’s Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa. “We may well see an escalation in the number of security incidents and increased activity by armed separatists threatening to disrupt the electoral process at all costs in the Anglophone regions.”
Some 400 people have now been killed by either government forces or the separatists. Many Anglophone leaders also remain in detention. Cameroon’s crisis has sparked tensions with neighboring Nigeria, and is a regional stability concern as well as an international security issue.
“The situation is reaching a critical threshold and the risk of mass atrocity crimes occurring in the immediate future is very high if effective preventive action is not taken,” warned the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect on Friday.
Image: Contre Nocendi file