Buea (National Times)-The Non Governmental Organisation(NGO) Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (CHRDA) with headquarters in Buea, Cameroon’s restive South West Region has upgraded the number of villages burnt with the context of the armed-conflict in the country’s two English-speaking Regions to 176.
According to information made public on the CHRDA website, 96 villages have been affected in the South West Region. Of this number, the NGO said 67 were severely burnt. In the North West Region, it puts the figure at 80 affected villages. The number of severely burnt communities here is 48.
Footnotes on the updated list of burnt villages indicate that, several of the communities have been burnt multiple times. CHRDA insist that, for purposes of accuracy, such villages were not double counted.
The center asserts that “ this act of burning villages is in breach of classical common article 3 to the Four Geneva Convention 1949 and to the Additional protocol II to the same convention dealing with international conflicts “.
The updated report calls for thorough investigations for perpetrators to be brought before the competent authorities. Despite calling for investigations, the CHDRA blames the Cameroon military for what it terms ‘inhuman acts’.
“It is on this note that CHRDA with its main objectives to promote the respect of human rights and democratic principles within our society denounces such inhuman act by the Cameroon military. We also urge both parties to the conflict to ceasefire and initiate an inclusive dialogue so that justice can reign supreme while we give chance to peace”.
However, the updating may likely continue in the months ahead as reports of more burnings of villages have emerged this week in parts of Menchum, Bui and Dunga Mantung Divisions in the North West Regions.
So far, neither the military nor the separatists’ has ever claimed responsibility for the burnings. Rather, it has been years of accusations and counter accusations over atrocities committed across the board. Human Rights lawyer Felix Nkongho Agbor Balla is leader of the CHRDA.