By Arrey Bate
“The Cameroonian authorities must leave no stone unturned in their pursuit of justice for two women and two children who were brutally murdered by the military”, Amnesty International said on Monday August 26.
The seven soldiers allegedly caught on video carrying out the killings are set to go on trial today.
When the video went viral in early July 2018, Cameroonian authorities initially dismissed it as “fake news”.
Then Amnesty International also revealed evidence that the Cameroon military was responsible, and the authorities later announced that the seven soldiers in the video had been arrested and would be prosecuted.
The seven are due to appear on 27 August before a military court in the capital Yaoundé on charges of joint participation in murder, breach of regulations and conspiracy.
This horrifying video shone a spotlight on the way civilians in Cameroon’s Far North have been ensnared in atrocities amid the fight against Boko Haram.
“Security forces who are supposed to be protecting people have instead carried out arbitrary detentions and extrajudicial executions” said
Samira Daoud, Amnesty International’s West and Central Africa Deputy Regional Director.
“This horrifying video shone a spotlight on the way civilians in Cameroon’s Far North have been ensnared in atrocities amid the fight against Boko Haram.
The Cameroonian authorities must draw a line and ensure no army personnel responsible for atrocities will escape from prosecutions.
Today’s trial is a first step towards justice and reparations for victims and their loved ones. Authorities must also ensure that all those reasonably suspected of crimes against civilians are brought to justice in fair trials before civilian courts.”
BBC experts also analyzed the video of soldiers shooting dead two women and their two children as soon as it went viral in July 2018.
With expert analysis of the uniforms and weapons used, infrastructure and other relief clues, the BBC built a case to counter the official narrative. The case was immortalized by the September 2018 BBC Africa Eye documentary titled “Anatomy of a Killing”.
Amnesty International also published that “the Cameroonian security forces response has too often been heavy-handed and rife with human rights violations”.
The International body called on authorities to bring all those suspected of criminal responsibility to justice in fair trials, before ordinary civilian courts and without recourse to death penalty.