By Njodzeka Danhatu
A video depicting Ambazonia fighters brutalising women in Bali, a locality in the Northwest region of Cameroon has gone viral, attracting widespread condemnation of the barbaric act.
In the two minutes and 45 seconds clip, apparently filmed by the fighters, a woman and two nursing mothers are seen been tortured with sticks, whips and what appeared to be a cow horn, by gun-wielding Amba fighters.
Over four men in civilian attires identified as Restoration Forces of the self-proclaimed State of Ambazonia, are seen beating the women mercilessly in the middle of a road.
News of the incident, said to have taken place in Bali in the Northwest region, broke out on Wednesday, July 17, but the atmosphere depicts an empty street, making many to believe that the act was orchestrated on a ghost town day, probably a Monday.
Throughout the video, the gunmen dragged and physically assaulted the helpless women alongside their infants who together wailed and begged for mercy.
The men speaking in their local dialect accused the women of acting as spies of the Cameroon military combating separatists in the two restive Anglophone regions.
The three mothers struggled to appeal to the men, but the armed men intensified the torture and at one instance, pointed an AK47 gun at one of the women, threatening to shoot her.
The videotaped act has been widely condemned by many, including activists of the Ambazonia movement.
They have criticised the act, describing it as barbaric and violence against women which should not be tolerated.
In the evening hours of Wednesday, July 17, after wide range condemnations on social media, another video surfaced, showing the supposed perpetrators arrested by their superiors.
In that second video, the believed perpetrators now in different attires are seen on their knees in an undisclosed area been interrogated by someone whose face is not seen.
The four masked men led by a man referred to, as Lucifer, said they tortured the women for spying on their activities. They also claimed that the women were carrying some cooked food to military officers. The interrogator is heard cautioning and telling them that they have done a bad thing and that they were not supposed to beat civilians.
The interrogator believed to be one of the leaders of the numerous Amba camps, is equally heard telling them that, they will be suspended and locked up for two months, and will take responsibility for anything that happens to the women they tortured.
However, the prompt reaction from separatists by arresting the unruly squad has not convinced many. While others questioned why the arrested were masked, others have questioned if they are the real perpetrators. Mark Bareta, one of the Ambazonia activists, in a public statement said, “Those boys who committed the Bali shameful act have been fished out and arrested. They will be detained for two months. They are apologising that they won’t do it again. I think this is not enough. Though what they accused the ladies of committing is against our revolution, such treatment given to them was wrong. I think this is not enough. The fighters must look for the ladies, apologise for such treatment then educate them the dangers involved in any corporation with Cameroun military. I am also apologising on behalf of our fighters to anyone who feels hurt. We can fix our issues”.