On Thursday, the 28th of May 2020, the state militias conducted an offensive raid around the Neighborhood of Upper Bundouma, situated in Buea, the chief town of the South West Region, which lead to the killing of four (4) unarmed young men. The incident took place in an uncompleted building, where the young men were allegedly caught smoking weed before being executed by the military. According to our sources, the building was raided by the military, and voices were heard of young men crying under pain of beatings for close to 45 minutes before gunshots were heard.
Access to the scene of the incident was restricted for the locals, but after the administrative authorities of Buea visited the scene, the corpses of the victims were taken to the mortuary. A few journalists of the local media who visited the building recounts that apparently there were no weapons found in the building, save for the fact that the building appears to be a host for marijuana consumers. It is also alleged one person survived the shooting and was whisked off by the military to an undisclosed destination.
CHRDA condemns this act in the strongest possible terms as it is a blatant violation of human rights. The extrajudicial executions go in sharp contrast to the fundamental rights protected by the constitution of Cameroon and all International Human Rights instruments as well as the Criminal Procedure Code. All of these instruments proclaim the right to life, right to fair hearing as well the as presumption of innocence which is guaranteed a suspect even when caught fragrante delicto.
In the meantime, no statement has been issued by the state authorities in the Division about the killings, and as we are in wait, we recommend an immediate investigation into the killings so as to give the rule of law a chance to prevail over impunity.
It should be recalled that this is not the first case of arbitrary executions in Buea within the context of the Anglophone crisis. On Monday the 30th of July 2018, five (5) young men in the locality of Bakweri Town, were massacred under similar circumstances. Equally, on Thursday the 27th day of September 2018, the military (BIR) targeted and killed seven (7) identified unarmed civilians in a compound at Ikundi Street in Babuti neighborhood of Buea town.
None of these cases has ever been investigated despite calls from the local and international human rights defenders, yet such incidents keep repeating even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. CHRDA calls on the government of Cameroon to investigate these targeted killings committed by the Defense and Security Forces and put to rest such impunity against unarmed civilians.