"The President of the Republic once again addresses his condolences and those of the entire nation to the families of the victims and wishes to assure them of his determination to ensure that justice is served," the Presidency indicates in a statement released on April 21, 2020.
The statement relates the results of the investigation opened on April 17 "on the high instructions of the President of the Republic" following the tragic events that took place in Ngarbuh, a locality located in the English-speaking region of the North-West, during the night of 13 to 14 February 2020. This investigation confirms the death of three women and 10 children killed during a reconnaissance mission by the troop deployed in the area. This incident was not the result of an action planned by the top military hierarchy or by the government, the investigation reveals.
Indeed, the investigation Commission found out that the Government based its initial communication, which denied an army blunder, on "a deliberately biased account" by the soldier who conducted the reconnaissance mission. Also, we learn, the soldiers sent to the field had set fires in an attempt to cover up the facts.
Having read the report of the Investigation Committee, Paul Biya decided to open disciplinary and judicial proceedings. The soldiers who took part in this reconnaissance mission are now at the military court.
The Head of State has also ordered that the victims be exhumed to be offered dignified funerals at the expense of the State of Cameroon. He also instructed that all the heirs of the deceased should be identified to ensure that appropriate compensation and reparations are paid. The village where the incident took place will also be secured with the creation of a military base and the construction of social services infrastructure.
"The protection of human rights is a noble and serious cause that must be defended with vigilance and firmness, but also with serenity and discernment. It should not be hindered by political motivations that can only weaken it," said the statement of the presidency of the Republic.
"The President of the Republic reaffirms his commitment to finding ways and means to resolve the crisis [Anglophone crisis, ed.note] peacefully," the document concludes.
The crisis in the English-speaking regions of the North-West and South-West is one of the most important internal conflicts that the government has had to face in the last 30 years.