The government of Cameroon has admitted responsibility for the tragic deaths of 10 children and 3 women in a raid conducted on a village back in February after initially covering it up.
The raid took placed in the largely Christian area based on information provided by a “repented terrorist” and a farmer in the local area. They claim 5 “terrorists” were killed, but also admit that during the firefight women and children were killed as well.
“Panic-stricken, the three servicement with the help of some members of the vigilante committee, tried to conceal the facts by causing fires,” the statement read.
The sergeant in charge of the raid then submitted a false report to further cover-up the tragedy.
Also in the report, Cameroon admits to having soldiers working in cooperation with “vigilantes” which in this particular case was Fulani Herdsmen, whose violence has been well documented by Faithwire and others.
Human Rights Watch reported in late February that the deadly raid was the work of Fulani Herdsmen working with the Cameroon government.
Government forces and armed ethnic Fulani killed at least 21 civilians in Cameroon’s Ngarbuh village, including 13 children and 1 pregnant woman, on February 14, 2020. They also burned five homes, pillaged scores of other properties, and beat residents. Some of the bodies of the victims were found burned inside their homes. The government denies that its troops have deliberately committed crimes.
“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,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Denying that these crimes have occurred adds another layer of trauma to survivors and will only embolden government troops to commit more atrocities.”
Those facts came after interviewing multiple witnesses and relatives of the victims.
Open Doors USA has reported on the plight of Christians in Cameroon, which is a split country as far as religions are concerned. Northern parts of Cameroon are largely Islam and anyone who converts to Christianity often faces risk of violence.
Muslims in Cameroon are severely hindered if they want to convert to Christianity, and in predominantly Muslim parts of the country, there has been a process of radicalization. Converts from Islam are threatened when Bibles or other Christian literature is found in their possession. Converts are not free to express their faith or Christian opinions, be it to immediate family members or others, since doing so exposes them to grave risk. Christians with a Muslim background in the northern part of the country face additional difficulties; for instance, there have been cases of Christian children in the north being forced by non-Christian relatives to attend Islamic classes. Many Christians with a Muslim background face problems with local communities in remote areas in the northern regions. Female converts are coerced into marriage with non-Christians and face the danger of abduction by Boko Haram.
In October 2019, a Bible translator was murdered by suspected Islamic militants in his home in the Wum region. This was the second Bible translator to be attacked and killed within two months.
On July 29, 2019, according to other sources and Christian charity Barnabas Fund, Boko Haram militants cut off the ears of at least three Christian women after snatching them from their homes during a night-time raid on a mainly Christian town in the far north of Cameroon.