Officials on Thursday disputed a human rights group report that at least 100 people were killed by security forces during anti-government protests in Cameroon last week. Those reports put the death toll significantly higher than the previously reported high of 17.
The protests occurred across Cameroon’s two English-speaking regions on Sunday as they symbolically declared their “independence” from the rest of the predominantly Francophone country. The government on Thursday dismissed the figures published by REDHAC, an NGO monitoring human rights abuses in central Africa.
Army spokesman, Didier Badjeck,said that the government knew of 10 deaths, and disputed figures released earlier this week by Amnesty International recording 17 deaths.
On Tuesday, a REDHAC statement read: “At least 100 protesters were found dead from bullets fired by the defence and security forces and from tear gas fired in large quantities.”
The statement went on to name 38 of the identified victims. English speakers in the former French colony have long complained that they are treated like second-class citizens, and that the government makes less money available to them.
On Oct.1, the secessionist movement declared independence – although the move had no basis in law – and protesters tore down Cameroonian flags and raised the banner of their would-be state, “Ambazonia.”