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Cameroon investigates video showing apparent execution of civilians

Cameroon’s government said on Friday (August 10) it would investigate a video that Amnesty International said shows security forces shooting at least a dozen unarmed people in the Far North of the country where they are battling Islamist militants.

Amnesty said in a statement it had verified the video through witness testimony, satellite imagery and analysis of the weapons, dialogue and uniforms. It said the video was shot in the village of Achigaya at an unknown date prior to May 2016.

The nearly four-minute video has circulated on social media in recent days. A government spokesman said it was released to undermine President Paul Biya ahead of an election in October.

“Here is yet more credible evidence to support the allegations that Cameroon’s armed forces have committed grave crimes against civilians,” Ilaria Allegrozzi, Amnesty International’s Lake Chad Researcher, said.

Government spokesman Issa Tchiroma Bakary said that authorities would open an investigation into the video but said the government was the victim of a “campaign of denigration” ahead of the election, when Biya will try to extend his 36-year rule.

“We are in an electoral period and it’s conducive to this kind of thing. People want to discredit the army and president,” Tchiroma told Reuters.