Government’s Reaction to Summary Executions Attributed to Cameroon’s Defense Forces

Statement by HE Dr. Issa Tchiroma Bakary Minister of Communication Yaoundé, July 20, 2018

Ladies and Gentlemen, Journalists,

The Head of State, His Excellency Paul BIYA, the Government and the entire Cameroonian people, were shocked and indignant by the atrocity of the images contained in this video, and express their compassion for the unfortunate victims, as well as their respective families.

Some national and international organizations, in particular Amnesty International, have pointed an accusing finger at the Cameroonian Army.

I would like to point out in this regard that, in the current state of the investigations in progress, no evidence of the involvement of the Cameroonian military in the incriminated acts has yet been provided. Some observations can be made at this stage:

  1. There is for the same scenes, a video with the same images, implicating the military of a country of West Africa. In a statement, the Government of that country rejects these accusations. We take note of it.
  1. However, this fact denotes a clear thing: the existence of two videos with comments where auditory parties incriminate two different countries implies that at least one of these videos has been tampered with; the same facts can not occur exactly in two different countries.
  1. In this context, it is not excluded that in the future, the same video resurfaces, incriminating other countries. Therefore, caution must be exercised before laying charges against anyone.
  1. In addition, Amnesty International relies on the weapons used in this video to incriminate the Cameroonian Army. In the analysis of the images, it appears that the weapons used are of type AK 47, commonly called KALACHNIKOV, spread in Africa, both in the hands of the regular Armies and criminal gangs.
  1. With pseudonyms (Cobra and Tcho-Tcho) used in the video, they do not refer to anything specific in the Cameroonian army.
  1. As regards the landscapes to which Amnesty also refers to concluding that the events are taking place in the Northern Region of Cameroon, it should be pointed out that such landscapes are not exclusive to Cameroon and refer to the Sahelo-Sahelian zone in general.

7. Unlike the uniforms worn by the perpetrators of these abuses, they are not those in staffing belonging to the military training indexed by Amnesty International. Moreover, it appears not only that the said authors are not uniformly dressed; but in addition, the outfits observed in the video are widely spread and held by both the military and by all other individuals. These outfits are also sometimes over-the-counter on the market.All in all, the arguments used to incriminate our Army are light and hasty accusations.This is the place for us to question the motivations of the persecution of our Army from a number of NGOs, while its professionalism is widely recognised.

The Cameroonian Army is a disciplined, patriotic and republican army. Its mission is to defend the integrity of our territory. It does so in a professional manner, with respect for human rights. The Cameroonian Army is waging war against terrorists. She does not make war on women and children.

Ladies and Gentlemen, It cannot be excluded, however, that, like everywhere else in the world, there may be burrs in a situation of commitment.

In this respect, the system in place in Cameroon provides that such acts are systematically the subject of investigations which, if necessary, lead to appropriate sanctions.

The Head of State, Head of the Army has, in this regard, prescribed zero tolerance.To return to the video, and given the gravity and intolerability of the facts that take place there, the Head of State ordered the opening of a thorough investigation, to shed light on this case. In case of proven facts, the perpetrators will be arrested, brought to justice and punished with the utmost firmness.

In execution of these Very High Instructions of the Head of State, the Minister Delegate to the Presidency of the Republic in charge of Defense has set up a commission of inquiry.

Any person holding information that may contribute to the presentation of the truth and to identify the perpetrators is requested to contact the said Commission at 222 23 43 84 or 222 22 64 97.

I thank you for your kind attention.



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