By Regis Che, In Buea
Cameroon’s Minister of Territorial Administration, Paul Atanga Nji, says it is wrong to accuse the country’s military of any excesses, given its resolve to restore peace and order in the troubled North West and South West regions.
He made the remarks recently, while execrating America’s intentions to remove Cameroon from the African Growth and Opportunity Act, AGOA.
United States President, Donald Trump on October 31, revealed to Congress his determination to end the designation of Cameroon as a beneficiary Sub-Saharan African country under AGOA, owing to the country’s current engagement in “gross violations of internationally recognized human rights,” which he said are mostly perpetrated by Cameroon’s security forces.
“These violations include extrajudicial killings, arbitrary and unlawful detention, and torture,” President Trump further inscribed.
In the defence of state soldiers, Minister Atanga Nji said: “We have all seen the army in these regions [Anglophone regions] distribute humanitarian aid, save humans that have been injured by secessionists. Our soldiers even teach in schools and donate didactic materials.”
René Emmanuel Sadi, Government’s Spokesman had earlier on shown discontent at the fact that state forces were accused of human rights abuses.
To him, separatist fighters are rather culpable for atrocities caried out in the two English-speaking regions of the country.
“We strongly condemn attacks against Cameroon which reflect a desire to weaken our institutions and undermine the self-confidence of our defence and security forces in their mission to restore order and preserve our territorial integrity,” he averred.
This is not the first time Cameroon is denying claims that her defence and security forces are responsible for violating human rights.
Since 2016, the Anglophone crisis has reportedly claimed about 3000 lives of mostly inhabitants of the North West and South West regions.
With the growing rate of armaments in the war-weary regions despite the holding of a four-day dialogue convened by President Biya to seek lasting peace, pundits say more deaths might be recorded.
They say, with the United States’ determination to strip Cameroon of its benefits from the American-Sub-Saharan African trade act by January 2020, the population of the two regions will experience further untold agony.