Catholic Charity Questions Competence of Cameroonian Military Killing Unarmed Civilians

The soldier who was killed by separatist fighters in Mbalangi, a locality in Mbonge Subdivision in the South West Region of Cameroon. Cameroonian military are said to have killed one civilian and injured three others in a retaliatory attack. Credit: Denis Hurley Peace Institute

The November 19 suspected deliberate killing of a civilian and the injuring of others by Cameroonian military at a village in the South West region of Cameroon raises questions about the professionalism of the men in uniform, Catholic charity and peace foundation, Denis Hurley Peace Institute (DHPI), has said.

The charity foundation reports that three people in Malende, a village in Cameroon’s Mbonge subdivision paid the price when separatist fighters in the embattled Anglophone region killed a government soldier in Mbalangi, a village that neighbors Malende.

Locals who spoke to DHPI said that the three people were shot when the military intentionally opened fire on the population of Malende. 

“The dead villager and the two who were injured were never struck by stray bullets given that the military did not fire their guns in the air, maybe to scare them, but rather directed their guns at them,” DHPI officials say in a Wednesday, November 24 report. 

They added, in reference to the suspected intentional shooting, “All this goes to question the professionalism of the Cameroonian military who are supposed to be trained to keep their cool and handle their emotions in a mature manner when they see their colleagues fall in battle.”  


The peace entity of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) reports that separatist fighters launched a surprise attack on a military unit in Mbalangi, killing one soldier and leaving some others injured. 

The State armed forces are said to have been called for reinforcement and the injured soldiers were taken to the Buea Regional Hospital for medical attention. 

Sources who spoke to DHPI reported that no casualties were reported on the side of the separatist fighters. 

“However, the price of the attack on the military by the separatist fighters was paid by three people of Malende, a neighboring village to Mbalangi,” officials of DHP say, and add that one man died on the spot while two others sustained serious injuries from an attack by the retreating soldiers from the confrontation with the separatist fighters in Mbalangi.  

The peace entity that is researching the five-year conflict in Anglophone Cameroon has condemned the country’s military for letting out their anger on innocent civilians.

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“Most of the atrocities carried out on the population in the course of this conflict has always been the direct result of incensed military directing their anger on the local population,” the officials of DHPI say.

They add, “The military claim the locals harbor, know where the separatist fighters hide, are their relatives and friends and therefore must pay the price when they cannot lay their hands on the separatist fighters.”

Meanwhile, DHPI has reported the November 20 burning down of the entire palace of the traditional ruler of Naka, a village in Bali Nyongha, North West Region of Cameroon, by Cameroonian soldiers.

The charity foundation reports that it could not get the reason why the military forces burned the residence of the chief who the entity reports has been away in exile.

According to DHPI, Naka is on the list of villages where separatist fighters have actively engaged the military.  


Eye-witnesses told DHPI that the military descended on the palace, setting ablaze the buildings that constitute the palace, including three vehicles that were found around the compound. 

“No lives were lost in the act, though it led to a mass exodus of the villagers who are scared of what the military might do next,” the officials of DHPI say. 

The foundation reports that the latest attack on the palace of Naka comes at the time when the government, through the parliament, has called on all traditional rulers who had deserted their villages due to the armed conflict to return to their homes.

This story was first published by ACI Africa on 26 November 2021

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.