By Amos Fofung
The dead toll of week’s Ngarbuh-Ntumbaw Massacre in Ndu sub-division of the North West region in Cameroon now stands at 32 as the locality remains gripped with fear, grief and wretchedness.
There has been widespread condemnation following the brutal killings among them pregnant women and children.
While some of the villagers were reportedly shot dead in separate locations in the enclaved village, others, were burnt alive when their homes were set ablaze.
“We gathered that the incident occurred when men in military attire stormed the village Friday in search of separatist fighters. The men in military outfits had arrived in the locality the previous night and camped at a nearby hamlet,” a local reporter said.
“As they moved into Ngarbuh the next day, we gathered, the Amba boys in the area had fled into the bushes. We also gathered that, houses belonging to the separatist fighters were then targeted, resulting in heavy human and material lost. Villagers, who attempted fleeing, were said to have been shot and killed.”
“Pregnant women, children and some adults who took refuge in houses in the village were all burned alive. At least 13 houses are known to have been burnt, resulting the demise of 27 persons, mostly children and women,” our source revealed after concluding his preliminary investigations.
We gathered that, a family of seven, was wiped out entirely during Friday’s horrific incident in what now stands as the bloodiest incident recorded amidst the ongoing armed conflict in the Anglophone regions of the country. This proceeds that of Pinyin in May 2018 in which at least 30 persons were reported to have been massacred.
Meanwhile, in a telephone conservation with The Guardian Post, army spokesperson, Colonel Cyrille Atonfack, merely confirmed the incident before disclosing authorities were investigating the issue.
He, however, dismissed reports that the massacre might have been carried out by soldiers. The army spokesperson said he believes the barbaric act must have been orchestrated by separatist fighters, known as “Amba boys”, whom he accused of carrying out similar actions and are always quick to go to the social media to post pictures of victims.
The military spokesman emphasized that the information attributing the brutal raid on government military forces is all “Fake News”.
Following last Friday’s incident in Ndu sub division, several prominent personalities and groups have been commenting on the issue.
Former presidential candidate and renowned lawyer, Barrister Akere Muna, took to his twitter page to condemn the massacre, describing it as “unfortunate”.
“Ngar village, Donga Mantung – Suffering, death and killing are now the new normal. How did we get here where human life no longer has any value? We must all, now, genuinely seek #peace before this country loses its soul”, the lawyer turned politician tweeted.
“Pray for all the innocent victims,” he added.
In a similar outing, the national president of the United Socialist Democratic Party, USDP, Prince Ekosso, urged that:
“The massacre and the genocide going on in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon should not go unpunished”.
“I am calling on the International Criminal Court to investigate these crimes and the perpetrators brought to book,” he said.
“The world should not give a blind eye to the happenings in Cameroon as though there are no International Guiding Norms to Human Rights and dignity,” he added.
In a statement issued Sunday, renowned human rights group, the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, CHRDA, described the incident as “barbaric”.
The group said: “We have received with shock the gruesome murder of at least 27 lives…on the 14th of February, 2020”.
“This happened at the village of Ngarbuh, Donga Mantung Division of the North West region Cameroon.
Among the victims are pregnant women and children, who were not only shot with live bullets at close range, but were equally burnt to ashes…,” the group detailed.
They said: “We have waited to receive an official statement from the government about the incident but it is not forth coming. In the meantime, CHRDA condemns in the strongest terms this barbaric and atrocious act…as it is a blatant violation of International Law and the most sacrosanct principle of the right to life”.
The rights body said it was recommending an investigation into the incident by the government and the immediate arrest and trial of those who carried out this “act for crimes against humanity”.
“While we decry this barbaric and unspeakable action, investigations into the details are still ongoing and shall be released alongside other human rights atrocities committed by both parties to the ongoing Anglophone crisis since the start of the year 2020,” the group concluded.
Leaders of the separatist movement and activists of Southern Cameroon’s quest for separation from Cameroon have all sworn to avenge the brutal killings in their land. Though some leaders, such as those grouped under the Southern Cameroon Liberation Council, SCLC have taken moderate stands requesting an investigation into the atrocity, others are urging their fighters in the North West and South West regions to ensure that the government of President Paul Biya and his administration know no rest.