Rights group: At least 21 civilians killed in Cameroon

Human Rights Watch has accused Cameroon’s armed forces of taking part in the killing of at least 21 civilians this month in a region where troops are battling anglophone separatists.

In a statement on Tuesday, the US-based rights group said 13 children and one pregnant woman were killed by government forces and armed Fulani herders in Ngarbuh village on February 14.

They also burned five homes, pillaged a large number of other properties and beat residents, HRW reported.

“The killings were so outrageous, the abuses so blatant and evidence so damming. The killings were deliberate and were aimed at punishing the population suspected of harbouring and collaborating with the separatists,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, HRW’s senior Africa researcher.

“The gruesome killings of civilians, including children, are egregious crimes that should be effectively and independently investigated, and those responsible should be brought to justice.”

The incident occurred in a remote part of the Northwest region – one of two English-speaking regions gripped by conflict sparked by demands for independence from majority-Francophone Cameroon.

The army says there were only five civilian deaths, which it said happened when fuel containers exploded in a firefight.

The government has denied what it called “outrageous and misleading allegations”.

On Monday, hundreds of pro-government demonstrators, holding placards and chanting slogans, gathered outside the French embassy in Cameroon to protest against what they described as Paris’s intervention in the country’s affairs.

Source: aljazeera.com