According to the government, soldiers killed 9 locals in northwest Cameroon, including an 18-month-old child, in a “manifestly disproportionate” and “hasty” response to a clash.
The four soldiers were hunting for a missing colleague in Missong village when they came across a mob of enraged locals late at night, according to a statement released by the military ministry on Tuesday.
“In an inappropriate reaction, unsuited to the circumstances and manifestly disproportionate to the hostile villagers’ refusal to cooperate … the soldiers, in a hasty reaction of self-protection … used their weapons,” the statement added.
According to the report, there were four males, four women, and a baby among the victims.
A one-year-old child was sent to the hospital with minor injuries.
The statement was a rare acknowledgement of culpability by the army, which has been accused of countless deaths and atrocities by civilians and rights groups throughout the continuing separatist insurgency.
Since 2016, separatist insurgents protesting perceived marginalization by the French-speaking majority have been attacking government soldiers in Cameroon’s northwest region, one of two English-speaking areas in the country.
In the anglophone districts, schooling and the internet, as well as ordinary life, have been constantly disrupted.
Nearly one million people have been forced into Nigeria, which is only across the border. Over 3,000 individuals have died as a result of the violence.
A mob lynched a military police officer in October after he shot and killed a five-year-old child at a checkpoint. A month later, in identical circumstances, a police officer murdered an eight-year-old child.
The four soldiers have been arrested, according to the ministry, and an inquiry has been launched.
It expressed its sympathies to the victims’ families.
SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES