Geneva / Buea, 15 November 2021 - The Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (CHRDA) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) strongly condemn the unnecessary use of force by a police officer that led to the killing of a seven-years-old girl in Cameroon.
On 12 November 2021, a police officer stopped a vehicle for a routine control at a checkpoint in Bamenda town, in the Northwest region of Cameroon. After the driver refused to comply, the police officer reportedly chased him and opened fire, hitting a seven-years-old girl returning from school. The child died on the spot.
The incident has further inflamed an already tense situation, with the population taking to the streets to demand justice for the victim and an end to police brutality in Bamenda.
It is the second time in as many months that the use of force by the Defence and Security Forces in Cameroon leads to the death of a child, in a context where the security situation is fragile with the ongoing Anglophone Crisis in the region. On 14 October, a five-years-old girl was killed in very similar circumstances by a gendarme in Buea (Southwest Cameroon), as she was on her way to school.
Education has been at the centre of the conflict from the beginning of the crisis in the Anglophone region of Cameroon. On the same day as the killing, a group that is part of the separatist movement announced a ban on all schools and educational institutions in the Anglophone regions, threatening violence against teachers, students, and school managers who violate the order.
On 13 November, separatist fighters retaliated against the killing of the child by ambushing a convoy of the Defense and Security Forces in Bamenda. This resulted in the killing of one civilian and eight members of the security forces, while a police officer was seriously injured.
There were further reports of police opening fire on a vehicle in Buea this morning, on the suspicion that separatists fighters were riding in it. As a result, two persons were wounded, one of whom later died in hospital.
Once again, the disproportionate use of force by Cameroon’s security forces has led to an escalation of the crisis.
The OMCT and the CHRDA call on the Cameroonian government to:
- Thoroughly, impartially and effectively investigate the acts of violence and unnecessary force that led to the death of the seven-years-old girl;
- Constantly sensitise and train the Defence and Security Forces to refrain from the use of unlawful force during routine road operations;
- Take all necessary measures to put an end to the Anglophone Crisis through a truthful and inclusive dialogue;
- Provide reparation, rehabilitation and guarantees of non-repetition to the family of the victim.
The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) is the largest global NGO group actively standing up to torture and protecting human rights defenders worldwide. It has more than 200 members in 90 countries. Its international Secretariat is based in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (CHRDA) is an independent, non-governmental, apolitical and non-profit making organization created in 2005, dedicated to the protection and advancement of human rights and the promotion of democracy as a political culture in Africa. The CHRDA is based in Buea in the Southwest region of Cameroon.
For more information, please contact :
OMCT: Iolanda Jaquemet, Director of Communications
firstname.lastname@example.org, +41 79 539 41 06
CHRDA : Akem Kelvin Nkwain, Human Rights Officer
email@example.com , +237 672070167
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