The release dated February 18, 2020 comes four days after the February 14 killings in Ngarbuh, a locality in Ndu Subdivision, Donga Mantung Division of Cameroon’s North West region.
“It is with extremely heavy hearts that the Human Rights and Liberties Commission of the Cameroon Bar Association is coming out publicly to address the unfortunate incident that recently occurred in Ngarbuh-Ntubaw village of Donga-Mantung Division of the North West Region of Cameroon on the 14th of February 2020,” the release signed by the commission’s president, Barrister Christian Daniel Bissou read.
The release conveys to the bereaved families the condolences of the Bar President, as well as his prayers for the peaceful repose of the souls of those who died in the unfortunate incident.
Without dabbling into giving figures of those who died, the Cameroon Bar said: “The ruthless murder of infants and women stands out as a high point in the violence in the North West Region. The very thought of this incident leaves one confused and lost in waves of shock, sorrow and bitterness.
“This Ngarbuh massacre confirms the prevalence of hostilities in an endless cycle of violence, thereby affirming support to calls for ceasefire and the resort to meaningful peace and brotherly coexistence.
“However, the Bar Association as the watchdog of the justice machinery and the voice of the voiceless in society condemns in very unambiguous terms, these monstrous atrocities and urges the government and all actors of justice in our nation to ensure that the perpetrators of these barbaric acts are traced and brought to book.
“The Human Rights and Liberties Commission of the Cameroon Bar Association will ensure that the perpetrators of [the] Ngarbuh massacre are traced, and pray the National Human Rights Commission to do same and to inquire into the above unparalleled acts.”
Barrister Legenju Vitalise Nkemngong, who says he is of the Bangwa Consortium, had taken to Facebook February 16, 2020 to question the disturbing silence of the Cameroon Bar Association regarding the bloody incident at Ngarbuh in Cameroon’s North West Region.
Government says seven separatists, five civilians died in Ngarbuh
The army spokesman Colonel Cyrille Atonfack Guemo, Defense Minister Joseph Beti Assomo and Communication Minister Rene Emmanuel Sadi have each taken turns to clarify that the civilian deaths in Ngarbuh were the result of an “unfortunate accident” which happened when fuel exploded in an exchange of gunfire with separatists in the area. Their accounts put the death toll at twelve – seven separatist fighters and five civilians.
They state that defense and security forces indeed carried out a “reconnaissance operation” in the area in a bid to dislodge a “separatist arms and logistics base”. They clarify public opinion that in an attack that ensued, “seven terrorists and bandits” were killed.
“During the clashes, a fire broke out in the terrorists’ fortification in the same house, causing explosions, before spreading to neighboring houses. This fire reportedly claimed the lives of five persons – a woman and four children – far from the massacre relayed on social media,” Defense Minister Beti Assomo Joseph said in a press release February 17, 2020, a version corroborated by Communication Minister Rene Sadi Tuesday.