By Amindeh Blaise Atabong
YAOUNDE (Reuters) – Armed separatists in Cameroon’s troubled northwest on Wednesday publicly executed two kidnapped civilians they accused of spying for the government, a local administrator and the separatists said on Thursday.
Footage of the killing widely shared online showed the two middle-aged men sitting on a paved road as gun-wielding separatists warn onlookers against betrayal. They then open fire on the men.
The video was shot in the village of Guzang, in Cameroon’s English-speaking North West region, where separatists have been fighting since 2017 to protest at alleged marginalisation by the majority French-speaking government. Their aim is to carve out an independent state called Ambazonia.
Reuters has not independently verified the footage but a senior administrator for the division in which Guzang is situated, Fouda Etaba Benoit Nicaise, confirmed the video on Thursday and said investigations were ongoing.
A spokesman for the separatists, Lucas Asu, said the movement’s military wing, the Ambazonian Defense Forces (ADF), carried out the execution after detaining the two men for over a month on suspicion of spying for the government.
“This is the first time ADF have carried out public execution of spies,” Asu said on Thursday. “It is done to set example and (as a) warning.”
More than 6,000 people have been killed in Cameroon’s English-speaking regions since conflict erupted in 2017 after protests were violently suppressed.
In July, human rights group Amnesty International condemned government troops, militias and separatists over killings, rapes, torture, burning of houses and other abuses.
Earlier that month, gunmen killed 10 people and injured another two at a busy junction in the North West’s regional capital Bamenda.
(Reporting by Amindeh Blaise Atabong; editing by Sofia Christensen and Mark Heinrich)