Amnesty International (AI) has accused cameroonian soldiers of rampant atrocities including rape of at least 15 women at the peak of the Anglophone crisis.
The report by the international non-governmental human rights organisation exposes crimes committed by armed separatists, militias, and members of the defence and security forces in the country since 2020.
Researchers from AI say they have established that some victims were abducted and raped till they were impregnated.
One of the victims identified as Monica was abducted in Sept. 2021 by a mix patrol of the military and gendarmes from her home in Ngie, Momo division of the Northwest.
She was held for several weeks and raped along side other young women. She later got pregnant and gave birth last year to twins.
“A medical report from the Bamenda Regional Hospital dated 16 December 2021, provided to Amnesty International by the victim, indicates that she was pregnant, had chlamydia, and received initial psychological support,” said the report.
Soldiers had stormed her village in retaliation to an attack carried out by armed separatists on a control post they were occupying.
Despite locking up her doors and squatting in a safe place along with her husband and child, the gendarmes succeeded in breaking in and raping her.
“They asked me to leave the child on the chair. I put the child on the chair. They wanted to rape me. They did. A military man raped me there. My husband tried to defend us and they shot him three times in the head, stomach and chest. We stayed in the house for 45 minutes to an hour,” the survivor told AI.
Monica was later transferred to an unknown home where she met six other women including a 12-year-old child, some of whom she knew.
For 10 weeks, they raped her.
“Every day they raped us one after the other. The parents of the other girls came with money to plead with them, but they refused, saying they had no one in custody there. We were in one room. Sometimes they allowed us to go outside. Three girls died during this time, including the 12-year-old girl who was raped to death.”
Another survivor whose name was not mentioned said her hands were tied behind her back as the soldiers repeatedly raped her.
“They tied me up, then they brutalized me, beat me. The other one came and raped me. There were two of them, one did the deed. When they had finished, they left. I was bleeding. I stood there for two hours.”
Reacting to this, Samira Daoud, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa called on Cameroonian authorities to investigate allegations of human rights violations and other crimes under domestic law committed in the context of the armed violence in the Anglophone regions and to prosecute and punish those responsible for such violations in fair trials and before independent, impartial, and competent tribunals.
“Victims of these crimes and violations have a right to justice and reparation,” she said.
Recall that Human Rights Watch reported in Feb. 2021 that justice remains elusive for over 20 women raped by Cameroonian soldiers on March 1, 2020, during an attack on the village of evan in the Southwest.
The victims included four persons with disabilities.
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