The Cameroon government has denied allegations that the Cameroonian Armed Forces executed women and children, the Guardian has reported. An alarming video shared on social media that depicted a baby, a child and two women meeting grisly deaths has raised concern across the globe. The dates of when these murders took place are unclear, and the identities of the victims are unknown. The non-government organization Amnesty International have theorized that the countries army is responsible and have described the deaths as ‘cold-blooded.’ This has gained the attention of key figures such as Paul Biya, the president of Cameroon.
The Cameroon government have described the video and media’s reaction to it as ‘fake news’ and ‘an attempt to distort actual facts,’ yet an investigation is underway. However, the dismissive response of the Cameroon government does not ensure that this inspection will be done with respect for the videos victims. Cameroon’s government’s defence does not prioritize responsibility or justice. Tchiroma Bakary, a government spokesperson has gone into detail about how the soldiers depicted in the video were not representing Cameroon. Meanwhile, many NGO’s remain unconvinced and question the merit of the investigation.
The Cameroonian Armed Forces’ record of being apolitical makes understanding the motives behind the killings difficult, even though the Cameroon military has faced criticism in the past for human rights violations. According to a 2014 report by the International Institute for Security Studies, Cameroon’s military strength is around 14,000 and commands over 1% of the countries budget. To many in the international community, Cameroon is a country that has escaped scrutiny and is a nation that could be described as non-contentious. However, this video proves that countries who support non-interference can be capable of human rights violations. For effective security measures that ensure the wellbeing of non-combatants, there needs to be tighter analysis. This can be done by having an investigation that is of substance.
As Cameroon is in the spotlight due to possible human rights violations, it is imperative that the victims are not forgotten. Not only are they women and children, they were civilians with no clear connection to military forces. As catastrophic it is for a country to receive such allegations, they must be addressed and taken seriously. It is paramount for the truth to be revealed so justice can occur. When civilians die brutally, that puts a discord in peace. It is difficult for a nation to progress lawfully when aggressive acts of violence occur.
Cameroon’s government remains difficult to decipher. However, years of non-interference in global security issues should not be interpreted as years of peace. There is nothing harmoniousness about the video depicting the deaths of women and children. Whilst it is unclear who is responsible, the video should be taken seriously and a considerate effort must be made to ensure that incidents like this do not happen again.