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Maroua Extra-judicial killings: Human rights advocate expresses misgivings over trial of soldiers

A leading human rights advocate in Cameroon has declared that the Government of Paul Biya cannot be trusted in matters of human rights and justice.

Reacting over the BBC to reports that some soldiers suspected of killing women and children in the Far North have been arrested, Maximilienne Ngo Mbe, who doubles as the President of the Central African Network of Human Rights Defenders, better known by its French acronym as REDHAC, saluted the gesture by the Government but held that her organisation still has some misgivings about the affair.

Maximilienne Ngo Mbe of REDHAC

According to her, Paul Biya has shown bad faith in the past in matters of human rights and cannot be trusted especially when it concerns the excesses of his soldiers.

“There have been similar allegations of military brutality in the past, but the Government did nothing,” she said, adding that, “investigations like these have been launched in the past but results have never been published.”

Ngo Mbe argued that the present situation is making headline news because of pressure within the country and from the international community as there are many which go unreported and the soldiers untouched.

While citing the Boko Haram conflict in the North and the situation in the Anglophone Regions, Ngo Mbe held that in recent years Cameroon has been going through challenging moments and the military has been involved in all these episodes with considerable human rights violations and nothing has been done to bring the authors to book.

She maintained that the scepticisms of Cameroonians would only be broken when the trial of the military men is taken to its clinical finished. She declared that the situation is made worse by the fact that the Biya’s Government has rejected any third party involvement and assistance from human rights organisations nationally and internationally.

In the past, human rights organisations including Amnesty International have argued that soldiers posted to fight against Boko Haram are arbitrarily arresting innocent persons with some of them disappearing in the hands of the military.

Similar accusations have also been made concerning the conflict in the Anglophone Regions. The Government has always denied such claims. The present situation in question was caught on camera showing soldiers shooting to death women and children accused of being members of Boko Haram.

At first instance, Communication Minister rejected the accusation and claimed it happened in a neighbouring country. Not until the identities of some of the men were being revealed on social media before the Government announced it has arrested some soldiers accused of perpetrating the act.

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