Following the recent raid by the military in the North West Region, which led to the destruction of 7 separatist camps and killing of 22 fighters as reported by the military, it has spiked up reactions from residents. The villagers say the military killed at least 13 civilians in this raid which included over 300 military forces.
Speaking on Friday, 1 May 2020, the Commander of the 5th Joint Military Region Brigadier General Nka Valere congratulated the state defense and security forces for the job well done. He mentioned that a good number of Ambazonian fighters were neutralized and items recovered. He said the troops killed about 15 separatists’ fighters in Bafut including the notorious ‘general’ Aladji who is responsible for kidnapping dozens of school children. He added that Cameroonian troops killed 7 other rebels during raids on camps in several villages and the town of Bamenda with no civilian casualties.
However, many villagers have disputed this, insisting at least 13 civilians were also killed during this clashes. A 32year old Oumarou Tanda said 7 civilians were found dead after the military left his village of Bangolan. He added that 3 of those killed were fellow Muslims with whom he was praying on Friday when the military opened fire. “We were praying in the mosque with some fellow Muslim military men. The ‘amba’ boys came to the mosque and retaliated. Instead of firing back at the boys, the military were shooting randomly at civilians. This has created so much fear in our hearts. We don’t know who to depend on. We were depending on the military for protection, now they are killing us. Who do we run to?” he said. He added that they welcomed the military to their village thinking they will gain protection from them but it appears they were mistaken.
Another villager in Tatum, North West Region said crossfire during raids in 3 neighboring villages killed six people, including teenagers. He too said they expected the military to protect them from separatist fighters but they are shocked at what the military do to innocent civilians. “It is rather an unfortunate situation. We were expecting the military to put an end to the unjust killings and terrorism by the ‘Amba’ boys. But we are now like orphans with no one to stand up for us. We plead for the government to put an end to these killings so peace can return to our land” he lamented.
Many villagers are bitter about the fact that the civilians suffer so many casualties from the military raids. Many civilians lost their lives as a result of the clashes between military and separatist fighters.
The separatist fighters on their part took to social media, blaming the military for civilian casualties. They acknowledged several losses and claimed responsibility for some casualties perpetrated on the military. Cameroon military on the other hand denied suffering any losses and said only a few of its troops were wounded.