At least a hundred individuals were abducted by armed separatists in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon before the legislative and municipal elections of Feb.9, revealed Human Rights Watch (HRW), which accused the soldiers of “new abuses”.
“Armed separatists (…) kidnapped over 100 people, burned property, and threatened voters in the run-up to the elections,” the international human rights watchdog said in a report released this Wednesday.
“The state security forces did not adequately protect civilians from the threats posed by the separatists, but rather committed new abuses against them during the same period,” said the NGO.
English-speaking independent soldiers and armed groups clash in the English-speaking regions of the West.
The conflict has claimed more than 3,000 lives since 2017 and forced more than 700,000 people to flee their homes.
Armed separatists want the independence of English-speaking Cameroon, which they call Ambazonia.
“Armed separatists targeted those willing to participate in the legislative and municipal elections, whether as candidates, election officials, activists, or citizens,” HRW stated.
The targets included members and supporters of the Social Democratic Front (SDF) party, which the separatists accuse of failing to show solidarity with their cause, the report noted.