Army soldiers killed at least nine civilians, looted scores of homes and threatened residents in Cameroon’s Anglophone South-West region, on January 10, 2021, Human Rights Watch said Thursday, February 4, 2021.
The dead included a woman and a child, and four civilians were injured.
Almost a month after the Massacre in Mautu the Rights Group has demanded for a credible inquiry into the killings an prosecute those responsible.
“Killing civilians and looting their homes in the name of security are serious human rights crimes that fuel the escalating cycles of violence and abuse in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions,” said Ida Sawyer, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
“Cameroonian authorities should rein in abusive units and, with the assistance of the African Union and United Nations, establish a credible, impartial inquiry into the Mautu killings and prosecute those responsible,” she added.
Mautu village is one of the communities severely affected by the ongoing armed conflict in the Anglophone North-West and South-West regions from Cameroon since late 2016.
Human Rights Watch interviewed by telephone 17 witnesses, including five relatives of victims, about the attack who confirmed that separatist groups operate in the area around Mautu… they come to the village to buy food and collect water.
The targeting of civilians since the start of this year have drawn international and national condemnation and put a spotlight on the search for peace in Cameroon as the country wrestled with an ongoing insurgency from English speaking secessionists.
Cameroon’s army has denied accusations from local media and aid groups that they had massacred civilians during what they called a “preventive” raid on “terrorist groups’ positions” in Mautu.
The military said terrorists came up with images claiming to show civilian victims… to lay blame on defense forces on the massacre in Mautu.
Two prominent Cameroonian human rights groups, the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa and the Human Rights Defenders Network in Central Africa (Réseau des Défenseurs des Droits Humains en Afrique Centrale or REDHAC), have condemed the killings and accused both the military and Anglophone separatist fighters of human rights Abuses Committed during attacks in the restive English Regions of Cameroon recorded in January 2021.