Cameroon Burning: The unseen war – Full documentary – BBC Africa Eye
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Cameroon Burning: The unseen war – Full documentary – BBC Africa Eye

November 15, 2019

This is the village of Kuke Mbomo,
in Cameroon, being burnt to the ground. For months now, images like these have been
pouring out of Cameroon on social media. Some show burning villages. Others
record acts of torture and killing. Many are too graphic to show. Taken together, these films show a country
sliding into civil war as the government tries to suppress an armed insurgency. So what’s going on? Africa Eye has analysed some of these videos,
checked them against satellite imagery and spoken with eyewitnesses on the ground. For the first time, we show you who is
committing these atrocities – and why. This is a conflict that has
been building for decades. At its root is a division between Cameroon’s French-speaking majority and it’s English-speaking minority concentrated in the west of the country. After Cameroon gained independence in 1960,
the two parts of the country formed a single nation. Even then, some English-speakers felt they
had been forced into the new republic. Ever since, Anglophones have complained that their
regions are neglected and excluded from power. The current conflict began in 2016, when lawyers, students, and teachers took to the streets to protest. Activists were arrested, and several
protesters were shot by security forces. The crackdown intensified Anglophone
resentment, fuelling demands for secession and transforming this into an
increasingly violent rebellion. By late 2017, separatists were symbolically
proclaiming the independence of a new state that they call “Ambazonia.” Since then, there have been reports of atrocities
on all sides – kidnappings, extra-judicial killings, and burnings of villages. This is one of those villages, seen in a
video recorded in April this year. The film shows a unit of at least 13
soldiers setting fire to a house. The location can be confirmed by matching
buildings to satellite imagery, as well as by fire damage in this subsequent
video from the same village. These men appear to be government troops. The fatigues, the helmets, and the black webbing
are all consistent with those worn by Cameroon’s Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR), an elite army unit that has been
trained by US and Israeli forces. Here they are again in a 2016 video, seen
with the distinctive BIR on their webbing. A local resident told the BBC that the troops who
destroyed houses in Azi belonged to the BIR. But a government minister said that the
identity of the men in this video is unclear. A few days later, in early May, this video
was posted to Facebook. We’ve examined the footage frame by frame, and confirmed that this was filmed in the village of Kuke Mbomo. This satellite image is from April 16th, 2018. Lower resolution imagery from after the
raid clearly shows that by May 22nd, many of these buildings have been destroyed. Amateur footage also captured an attack on
the village of Munyenge on April 29th. This video shows the town centre ablaze and
reveals this distinctive landmark, which can be seen again in a video
of the aftermath posted on May 4th. Satellite imagery from before and after this
attack shows the extent of the destruction. The BBC has spoken with three residents of
Munyenge who all say that the village was destroyed by government forces. These are not isolated incidents. Analysis of satellite imagery shows extensive
fire damage in villages across the South-West region. Kwakwa. Bole. Kumukumu. Bekora. We cannot confirm who was responsible
for torching these villages, but lawyer and activist, Agbor Nkongho,
blames government forces. The government denies this. Government forces have also been accused
of unlawful killings and torture. This video, recorded in May 2018, appears
to show Cameroonian gendarmes torturing a separatist commander. The full video is too graphic to show, but
the men inflicting this beating are repeating the phrase “You’ve killed gendarmes, no?” Our analysis of the video places it
outside the National Gendarmerie in the village of Nkongle. The government told us that they
are investigating this incident. It’s not just the government
committing these abuses. Separatist rebels have also killed Cameroonian
security forces and attacked civilians accused of working with the government. Cameroonian authorities say that 81 members
of the security forces and more than 100 civilians have been killed by separatists in the past year. The rebels have also attacked and burnt down schools. This teacher was shot for keeping his school open. This new video shows a village chief being
beaten, apparently, by a rebel militia. His tormentors are threatening to kill him if the
government doesn’t respond within 24 hours. Thousands of families have been forced
from their homes by the fighting. 21,000 people have fled across the border into Nigeria. The UN estimates that a further 160,000
are displaced within Cameroon. Many, like the people shown in this video,
are still hiding in the forest.

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  1. Thank you for watching and all your comments so far! Remember, you can turn on Subtitles/CC in the video settings.

  2. thank goodness……..these blacks don't need anything from us………..this is nature taking place…….good job guys in Cameroon…….you are a good example……..

  3. BBC you are just the best for making our problem known to the world , beeing someone from the region i can only says kudos and keep it up till the struggle comes to an end.

  4. 3:25 "trained by US and Israeli forces", ok now the violence makes sense. those 2 governments are masters at destruction.
    We all need peace.

  5. As president of Nigeria in 2023 I have the answer to this. We are all black people we can't be killing each other because of you speak French I speak English my brother none of this language is even our language how could we?

  6. This what happened when a country's government keep neglecting his own people then he should know he is secretly building extremelist terrorist rebels and a probability that some group will be calling for freedom. Once the fire starts bang is on.

    Doing the Job for thier SLAVE Master (the Whiteboy)…

  8. This is good for those Cameroon People i Remember My father told me during Biafra war in those days, these Cameroon people supported the British Nigeria government to fight Biafra people. Hahaha this is the pay back for their evil act

  9. Africa! How can we be fighting ourselves due to colonial language to use, this is 21st century. I am weeping and deeply disappointed in our African leaders.

  10. France is making the situation in Cameroon worse supporting Paul Biya who Francophone over the Anglophone. France have been doing this for a long as l can remember. Biya want to rid Cameroon of Anglophones. This is how we Africans are destroying ourselves and becomes tools/playing things in the hands of the West and now China and Russia who are out for what they can get from Africa. Our so called leaders are blind/clueless. They are putting our continent, resources and our people at risk. These are dispacable human beings. We cannot continue praying to God to help us "Heaven helps those who helps them" We need to get our act together otherwise……!

  11. They are dividing themselves because of foreign languages.Cameroon still under colonization they can’t say they are free because they are Mentally Colonized.Do really Cameroon’s have Native Language.

  12. This was in I wish the deaths ended then. The deaths are increasing day by day.only one solution I know of God. No God no love cuz God is love ,no love no peace and no peace no unity. Those who have the yam and the knife in their hands, reduce yourself to the above solution for only pride is keeping you from getting there or improve yourself to the above solution for only ignorance is keeping you from getting there as well.

  13. If Nigeria hadn't handed over them to the Cameroon government when the international court order them to … things could have been different

  14. BBC and other broadcasting networks only spread the news. What good has the United nations done so far to remedy the situation. They only send delegations to Cameroon who end at Yaounde and enjoy themselves and take what ever information biya and his corrupt and devilish members tell them. We shall take the bull by the horn and free our Amazonian territory and form our super country. The whole world knows that if we succeed Amazonia will be the greatest country ever liveth in economy and all the likes. Long live the struggle, long live Amazonia

  15. Cameroon is one of the fourteen African nation that France has financial control of and its president is their puppet.

  16. So this all boils down to a minority of people who speak “ENGLISH”! Really people! Stand together in unity as a bilingual/multilingual country. This like Rwanda all over again. Geez ??‍♀️


  18. Fulani people killing and clearing territories in both Eastern, Northeastern Nigeria and Southern Cameroons all for their masters, the British and French.

  19. Stan Mboks 
    You are egregiously stupid! I'm not even sure what gives you the authority to speak on these issues? You must be a French troll? We the locals ate telling you what our issues are, scattered in Nigeria and in the Diaspora, and you are here insisting to us what you think our problems are? The issue is autonomy, resources and territorial control. Franco/Anglo is just a convenient label for identification. Even if we used the same language, the problem will remain. Nigerians speak the same English language, but they have the same problem; Biafrans want to secede.

  20. This is what interference by Europeans will do Look at their moronic judges with fag ass wigs on their heads. European influence means African psychopathy. This is the history for every week African country that have no idea who they are, but this disfunction goes according to the European agenda.

  21. I am full of goose pimples right now…. i can barely think straight after watching this but i know for sure that nothing feels better than accomplishment, by the time the end tone rings we will know who will be there to dance to its rhythm.
    The devil is a liar

  22. My son mother is from Cameroon and she was big on the divide english french divide. So sad and ignorant to see black people killing each other over stupid shit.

  23. Why is the U N just talking and not doing anything?Because they don't care.People are dying everyday and you don't care about them.

  24. I’ve said this a million times and i’ll say it again. Us Africans/Blacks, we are our own worse enemies. And that’s why the rest of the world/other races don’t respect us as a people

  25. I have found out prior to watching this that my family is mostly Cameroonian on my mothers side. My question, is Cameroon considered a name that would properly describe the people of this region as of 1600s and further? I have many questions and am very saddened to hear about this

  26. Africa needs a cleansing of war, terrorism and dictators my African nation had a dictator and he was overthrown and fled to Nigeria while rebels killed his people.

  27. I’m from Cameroon. The attacks like the video said are mostly in anglophone regions. I used to go to a catholic boarding school in an English speaking area called Bamenda. We only saw our parents during Christmas, Easter and summer holiday or 1 or two visiting days. I remember one day we had to end school abruptly because some vigilantes attacked a nearby catholic boarding school. The bishop who controlled a network of school had to close all of them down out of fear of children getting hut and kidnapped. When I wasn’t in school , I lived in another city called Douala- a French speaking area. My parents obviously couldn’t come get me in such a short notice so I had to travel out of Bamenda with a friend of mine. I remember hearing gun shots on the way out and being scared out of my wits. The school year was cut short and cancelled – this happened in November. I now go to school in the US but I still have friends who stay in Bamenda. The situation is only getting worse – I hope we’re able to find a solution

  28. Call me an asshole, but it really is kind of funny, in a tragic way, that they divide themselves by who speaks what language, when actually neither side really speaks their language well. That is as if I, who knows how to say hello ("Ni Hao") and thanks ("Xie Xie") in Chinese, would define myself as a "Chinese speaker" and go to war against western teenagers in my neighborhood, who like Anime shows and speak a few words of Japanese.
    With other words, if you are feeling discriminated against because you are a "English speaker" and are willing to go to war over that, shouldn't you at least actually speak proper English?

    Can't all those people just go back to speaking the language they have been speaking before the French and British came and forget about this nonsense?

  29. I just found out today through DNA I'm 39% Cameroon (my largest percentage of dna). I knew nothing of the country or people. I've been Googling Everything about Cameroon all day. So far I'm saddened by what I've seen and read. I wanted to be proud and plan a trip… but its clearly that won't be the case.

  30. I know this is the BBC but the history which might motivate today's activities was glossed over in this piece that it becomes inaccurate. French Cameroons ,today's majority french speaking regions, gained independence from France in 1960. During the 1961 Plebiscite , English Northern Cameroons gained independence from Britain by joining the Federal Republic of Nigeria and British Southern Cameroons, today's majority English speaking regions, gained independence by joining the then already independent French Cameroon. These two regions were run as a federal state, Federal Republic of Cameroon. In 1972, it became the United Republic of Cameroon, then later the Republic of Cameroon as known today. Remove the geopolitical motivations of the time, natural evolution of the political environment, key players relevant dates and locations and that is the history you have…

  31. So hyped…

  32. The return to federal system of government is the only option.and we blame the U.S.A. for supporting terrorism in our country .as those sponsoring these rebels all live in U.S.A.and the U.S.A government have refused to call them to order since their main aim is to distabilize Africa.

  33. It honestly saddens me to see this happening to a place that I always love to visit. A place we’re my parents grew up , and where some of my family is still in Cameroon in hiding from all of this ?????

  34. I have a nice idea – the UN takes the power over the countries of Africa that are in war state. And makes everything necessary for settling down the situation. Moreover, it is very important to build roads in Africa, with the development of road system, the situation will calm down and business will develop too.

  35. Good luck to Ambazonia from the UK ??

    Self-determination is a right, but it seems like in reality freedom isn't free.

  36. When you're dealing with snakes, you don't just tread on it's tail, it will simply turn around and bite you. NO ! you MUST fo for the head of the snake !

    They got rid of Mugabe and now have another similar leader in Zimbabwe. It's really all about power, money and control. For thousands of years there has always been a "smart arse" who wants to be the boss of you and everything you do. History shows you have to remove these twats, whatever the cost may be If you don't you'll NEVER be free

    In the western world right now we have a ton of useful idiots doing the work of those who think they are our boss. They too must be removed. It's the same problem that happens with each new generation. Live free or die ! But die fighting if you must die !

  37. Thanks so much BBC for this great Job at least the world will see what humanity is turning into. God help your children

  38. ive been there in cameroon and it may be a third world trashy country but there people are amazing, It is crazy over there franco vs english war while most normal people there are just trying to live their lives.

  39. This is incredible reporting. I had no idea. If I wasn't already subbed I would be. I'm glad I am aware of this conflict and can help raise awareness. Pathetic contribution, I know.

  40. I lived in the south west region by end 2016 I experienced war and I lossed class mates, slept in burned villages with no food for all i remember about cameroon is Dark.

  41. My friend lives in Bamenda. I know your suffering. May all victims of genocide rest in peace. I wish that your suffering would soon end and that justice would win.

  42. too much stupid violence in the world! will there ever be peace in Africa? Everyone still wants to rob Africa: Russians, Israelis, Arabs, Americans, French, English, Chinese and others. Africans must be strong in themselves. They must educate themselves and be strong. Otherwise it will never be good in Africa.

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