Monday, 25 June 2018

Burning Cameroon: Images You Are Not Meant To See

A man calmly sets fire to a house, watched by a group of at least 12 men dressed in fatigues, helmets, and black webbing consistent with those worn by an elite army unit in Cameroon.


"I want to die," a village chief tells his tormentors as they beat and threaten to kill him. They appear to be members of a separatist militia.

Captured on video and shared widely on social media, these are among dozens of clips that have been pouring out of Cameroon over the last six months, some of which have been analysed by BBC Africa Eye.

Some of them show burning villages. Others record acts of torture and killing. Many are too graphic to show.
Burning Cameroon: Images You Are Not Meant To See
Though often confusing and hard to verify, these films show a nation sliding towards a brutal civil war as the government tries to suppress an armed insurgency in the English-speaking areas of western Cameroon.

Footage recorded in late April this year shows a unit of at least 13 soldiers setting fire to a house in Azi, a village in Cameroon's Anglophone South-West region.

BBC Africa Eye has confirmed the location by matching buildings to satellite imagery, and comparing the fire damage shown in a subsequent video from the same village.

These men appear to be members of the government's security forces. Their fatigues, helmets and webbing are all consistent with those worn by Cameroon's Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR), an elite army unit that has been equipped and trained by the US and Israel. www.bbc.com

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