National Security

U.N. Human Rights Chief ‘Utterly Appalled’ by Video of Extrajudicial Executions in Cameroon

Cameroonian troops / Getty Images

The United Nations Human Rights chief expressed shock and disgust in response to a recent video that appears to show Cameroonian soldiers killing women carrying small children as suspected members of Boko Haram.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said he was "utterly appalled" by the video, adding that he is "deeply worried that these killings captured on camera may not be isolated cases." He is also worried about increased conflict in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions between security forces and separatists, according to the Associated Press.

The human rights organization Amnesty International reported it "gathered credible evidence that it was Cameroonian soldiers depicted in a video carrying out the horrific extrajudicial executions of two women and two young children," although the date of the video was unclear. The killings appear to have occurred in the Far North region of Cameroon.

"The evidence we have provided forms a firm basis for strongly suggesting that the individuals committing these atrocities are members of Cameroon’s armed forces. Some individuals are clearly identifiable and cannot be allowed to get away with such a heinous act with impunity," said Samira Daoud, deputy director of Amnesty International’s West Africa office.

Cameroon is struggling with challenges in the northern and western parts of the country. In the north, Boko Haram has been active for several years. In the North West and South West regions, security forces have been engaged in an increasingly violent conflict with Anglophone separatists.

Last month, BBC News released video of security forces committing human rights violations. One clip showed soldiers wearing uniforms consistent with Cameroon's elite Rapid Intervention Battalion setting fire to the village of Azi in the South West region.

Amnesty’s report notes the weapons and uniforms of the soldiers in the video "display patterns consistent with a number of possible units, including regular infantry and the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR), the special forces of the Cameroonian army."