In its 2019 Human Rights report published Tuesday, the group said security forces and Amba boys have “killed, violently assaulted, or kidnapped people with disabilities as they struggled to flee attacks, or because they were left behind”.
Authorities in the country, for their part, the body said, in 2019 cracked down on the political opposition, violently broke up peaceful protests, and arrested hundreds of opposition party leaders, members, and supporters.
Responding to increasing attacks by armed separatist groups, security forces killed scores of people, burned hundreds of homes and other property in villages and cities across the North West and South West regions, and tortured suspected separatists in detention, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday.
On February 6, they recounted that security forces, including soldiers of the Rapid Intervention Battalion, BIR, stormed the market in Bole Bakundu village, South West region, killing up to 10 men.
On April 4, they continued, “Cameroonian soldiers, gendarmes. and BIR members carried out a deadly attack on the North West region village of Meluf, killing five civilian males, including one with a mental disability, and wounding one woman. The forces also forcibly entered at least 80 homes in Meluf, looted some, and burned down seven”
On May 15, they said an Air Force and BIR soldiers attacked Mankon, Bamenda, North West region, burning over 70 homes and killing a man. On July 10, Air Force soldiers went back to Mankon and killed two men, the report added which also said “On September 24, B1R soldiers attacked a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Royal Palace in Bafut, shot and wounded one man, and looted the palace museum, taking several precious artifacts”.
Atrocities by armed Separatists
The Human Rights Watch said in the report that Armed separatist groups have killed, tortured, assaulted, and kidnapped dozens of people, including students, teachers, clergy, and administrative and traditional authorities.
On February 16, they said a group of armed separatists abducted 170 students, mostly girls under 18, a teacher, and two guards from a boarding school in Kumbo, North West region.
“They were all released the following day amid rumors of ransoms being paid. The school remained closed at time of writing,” said the report.
Human Rights Watch, they said authenticated a video showing armed separatists in mid-May torturing a man in an abandoned school in Bali village, North West region.
“The school has been closed since mid-2017 due to violence and the separatists’ enforced boycott of education. Armed separatists have used schools as bases, deploying fighters and weapons and holding people hostage in and near them,” added the report.
On June 18, they said separatists kidnapped at least 40 people, including women and children, beat and robbed them in Bafut, North West region.
“On June 28, armed separatists beat and kidnapped John Fru Ndi, a well-known Cameroonian politician, from his home in Bamenda, North West region. Three days before, armed separatists abducted and released another high-profile figure, Cornelius Fontem Esua, the archbishop of Bamenda,” part of the report narrated.