Three Cameroon soldiers charged with murder over February massacre

  • At least 14 children were killed during the attack.
  • Preliminary findings pointed to soldiers having defied orders.
  • The three will be placed in provisional detention.


Three soldiers have been charged with murder over a massacre in western Cameroon, where security forces are fighting anglophone separatists, the army said Thursday.

At least 10 children and three women were killed on 14 February in the village of Ngarbuh, according to the authorities.

"The three Cameroonian soldiers have been placed in provisional detention in Yaounde military prison," army spokesman Colonel Cyrille Atonfack Guemo told AFP, adding that they had been charged with murder.

The military initially denied any killings and said the deaths had resulted from an "unfortunate accident" which happened when fuel containers exploded in crossfire between separatists and troops.

The UN said at least 23 civilians had died, 15 of them children and two of them pregnant women.

As the international outcry amplified, President Paul Biya ordered an investigation.

READ | 14 children among up to 22 dead in Cameroon massacre: UN

The preliminary conclusions, published in mid-April, found that three "uncontrolled" soldiers who had disobeyed orders killed 10 children and three women with the help of local auxiliaries from the Fulani, or Peul, ethnic group.

The troops then "tried to hide the facts by setting fires" before submitting a bogus report, according to the probe.

In addition to being charged with the murder, the three - two troopers and a sergeant - are also accused of disobeying orders, destruction of property and arson, the army said on Thursday.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Thursday that it was glad that the investigation had got underway.

"However, we believe that all those who are responsible for these odious crimes, including those at the top of the chain of command, should be held accountable and punished appropriately," she said.

In its own probe, the rights watchdog said between 10 and 15 troops took part in the massacre, including members of an elite unit, the Fast Intervention Battalion (BIR).

The deaths triggered an outpouring of grief in Cameroon, and Richard Bona, a Cameroon-born US bass player, devoted a song to the victims called "Ngarbuh."

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Will you continue to use WhatsApp following the company announcing a change terms of service which would force users to share personal data?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, the terms of service do not bother me enough to switch
53% - 8246 votes
No, I will be switching over to a new service
43% - 6787 votes
I've never used WhatsApp
4% - 618 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
14.99
(+0.94)
ZAR/GBP
20.43
(+0.70)
ZAR/EUR
18.17
(+0.65)
ZAR/AUD
11.53
(+0.92)
ZAR/JPY
0.14
(+1.21)
Gold
1839.70
(+0.19)
Silver
25.17
(+0.80)
Platinum
1083.00
(-0.23)
Brent Crude
54.74
(-0.64)
Palladium
2360.50
(0.00)
All Share
63603.26
(-0.17)
Top 40
58358.85
(-0.32)
Financial 15
12017.40
(+0.95)
Industrial 25
85061.23
(+0.29)
Resource 10
62265.14
(-1.51)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo