Cameroonian soldiers go on trial over killing of women, children

Cameroon and Chad

A military court in Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde on Thursday began the trial of three members of defense and security forces accused of participating in the killing of women and children in Ngarbuh, in a locality in the country’s restive English-speaking region of Northwest.

The members of security including two soldiers and a gendarme were arrested after a military operation in Ngarbuh village in February against armed separatists that led to the death of several civilians.

An investigation ordered by the government concluded that, at least 10 children and three women were killed during the offensive, while the UN has put the toll at more than 23 dead, including nine children aged under five and two pregnant women.

The soldiers have been charged with murder, arson, destruction, violence against a pregnant woman and disobeying orders, according to army spokesman Col. Cyrille Atonfack.

Seventeen members of a vigilante group and a former separatist fighter who took part in the killing alongside the soldiers have also been charged but remain at large.

Five lawyers are representing the victims and their families at the trial which is expected to last for days.

Armed separatists and government forces have been embroiled in a bloody over three-year-old conflict in Cameroon’s two English-speaking regions of Northwest and Southwest where separatists want to establish an independent nation they call “Ambazonia.” Enditem

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