By ROSY SADOU in Yaoundé

CAMEROONIAN security forces recently killed two civilians, raped a 53-year-old woman, destroyed and looted at least 33 homes, shops, as well as a traditional leader’s palace.

Armed separatist fighters killed a 12-year-old boy and kidnapped four humanitarian workers who they held overnight.

These are among findings by a human rights organisation as the crisis in English-speaking regions escalates.

The North-West and South-West regions are bearing the brunt of new abuses in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions by both government security forces and armed separatists.

“Cameroon’s security forces have an obligation to lawfully counter attacks by armed separatist groups, and protect people’s rights during periods of violence,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch (HRW).

“But yet again, we learn that they have responded to the threat from separatist groups with attacks on civilians and serious human rights violations of their own.”

Since the Anglophone crisis began in late 2016, government forces have regularly committed serious human rights violations during security operations against the armed separatists fighting to create an independent Anglophone state of “Ambazonia.”

The recent uptick in violations came amid renewed clashes.

An army spokesperson reported that security forces were involved “in at least 30 heavy gun battles with separatists in June.”

Humanitarian access is severely restricted and humanitarian workers have been victims of attacks by both government forces and armed separatist groups.

English speakers are a minority in Cameroon, with 20 percent of the 27-million population. – CAJ News