On October 24, 2020, gunmen stormed Mother Francisca Bilingual Academy, a private school in Kumba's Fiango neighborhood killing seven school children. No one claimed responsibility for the killings, but the government blamed armed separatists who have called for a boycott of education in the Anglophone regions since 2017.
Human Rights Watch says the subsequent trial and death sentence meted out to four suspected separatists for the killings was marked by procedural irregularities.
"Cameroonian authorities seem to have railroaded people into a sham trial before a military tribunal, with a predetermined outcome, capped with the imposition of the death penalty which is unlawful under international human rights law," Ilaria Allegrozzi, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch said.
"Victims of the Kumba massacre have a right to expect an effective investigation, and for those responsible to be brought to justice in a fair trial."
Atoh Walter Chemi, the leading defense counsel, told HRW the trial was "predicated upon circumstantial evidence as opposed to real evidence, and throughout the trial, the prosecution brought no witness we could ask questions".
The trial, which received no media attention before the verdict was pronounced on September 7, started in December 2020. Defense lawyers said all 12 defendants had to present their cases in one day during a "marathon hearing" in July 2021.
"The military court should never have handled this case involving civilians, and it seems to have made little effort to ensure basic respect for human rights standards," Allegrozzi said.
Map of Cameroon showing north-west and south-west regions.
RFI, 15 October 2021
Authorities in English-speaking western Cameroon have appealed for calm after a policeman who killed a four-year-old schoolgirl was lynched by an angry mob. This comes just weeks… Read more »
VOA, 19 October 2021
Cameroon's French-speaking towns on the border with the English-speaking western regions are creating militias to stop separatist incursions. The militias say separatists are… Read more »
Cameroon Tribune, 13 October 2021
Commercial exchanges have improved, hitherto staled infrastructural projects rekindled, markets and enterprises progressively reopening. Read more »
Cameroon Tribune, 14 October 2021
This was championed by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation through a conference that held in Yaounde on October 12, 2021. Read more »
Cameroon Tribune, 14 October 2021
The Ministers of Finance and Decentralisation and Local Development in a joint circular letter have given guidelines for the preparation of the budget for 2022 financial year. Read more »
Cameroon Tribune, 18 October 2021
Below is a statement from the Minister of Communication. Read more »
Cameroon's Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute on a visit to the restive western regions, called for armed separatists to lay down their weapons or be killed. Ngute said Cameroonian ... Read more »
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Cameroon is in the midst of an escalating humanitarian crisis as it battles to bring several violent conflicts under control. The main one being between government and separatists ... Read more »
Thousands of Cameroonians have participated in peace walks on UN World Peace Day on September 21, 2021. They called for a ceasefire between the military and separatists. Citizens, ... Read more »