Cameroon opens probe after 'abuse' video in conflict region

(iStock)
(iStock)

The government of Cameroon said on Monday it would open an investigation over a new video that emerged on social media appearing to show summary killings by troops in a troubled region.

The video purports to show armed men opening fire on about 10 unarmed individuals in the country's Far North Region, which has been shaken by jihadist attacks.

The video "will be subject to a thorough investigation overseen by the head of state," government spokesperson Issa Tchiroma Bakary, who is also communications minister, said on state radio.

The outcome of the inquiry will be released to the press, Bakary said, adding that he was sceptical that the armed men seen on the video were troops.

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He said, though, "No army in the world, however powerful it is, can claim to be immune to mistakes and failings by a tiny minority" of its troops.

In the video, a man purporting to be a government soldier says he taking part in a "sweep" in the village of Achigachia, near the border with Nigeria, which saw repeated clashes between the Cameroonian army and Nigerian Boko Haram jihadists between 2014-6.

Amnesty International said the video provides "fresh credible evidence supporting allegations that the Cameroonian armed forces has reportedly carried out major crimes against civilians."

On Friday, the authorities said they had arrested seven troops in an investigation opened after another video circulated on social media, showing two women and their two children killed by men who appear to be soldiers.

On July 11, the government initially attacked this video as "fake news" and a "horrible fake" but also pledged to probe it thoroughly.

Rights groups have made accusations of abuse by the army in the Far North Region as well as in the Northwest and Southwest Regions which are facing a revolt by armed anglophone separatists.

The security problems there form the backdrop to presidential elections on October 7 in which the 85-year-old incumbent, Paul Biya, is bidding for a seventh consecutive term.

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