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Cameroun Military Attacking Hospitals Are Acts Of War Crimes

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STOP the Attacks and Assaults on Hospitals and Medical Personnel

Deliberate attacks on medical facilities as measures to prevent wounded fighters from being treated constitute war crimes under International Humanitarian Law. Even worse is the act of going after the wounded fighters (if at all there’re any) already receiving treatment in Hospitals.

The principle of non-interference with medical services in times of armed conflict and civil unrest as prescribed under the Medical Neutrality clause states that physicians and all other medical personnel must be allowed to care for the sick and wounded, soldiers as well as fighters, must receive care regardless of their political or ideological affiliations.

But what is happening in Cameroon today under the nose of the international community makes a mockery of this pseudo social contract and international law. Dozens of Hospitals across the Southern Cameroons, both mission and government hospitals have come under repeated assault and serious attacks from the Cameroon military. In some instances, the medical personnel have been assaulted for refusing to identify patients with gun wounds, whom by government standards are all separatists’ fighters. Two medical personnel lost their lives in Acha Tugi Hospital in Momo, under suspicious circumstances.

This, therefore, is a SOS call to all international bodies operating medical facilities in the Southern Cameroons such as the Catholic Mission, the Cameroon Baptist Convention, the Presbyterian mission etc, to be concerned about their institutions especially their personnel, as the La Rep. du Cameroun military is becoming more and more aggressive
towards medical staff in these mission Hospitals.

Driving military tanks and armoured cars around and into these medical centres with the intent to intimidate the staff, and in some cases assault patients and staff is something that should raise grave concern and must be vehemently condemned.

Mission and government Hospitals in Nguti, Widikum, Batibo, Acha Tugi, Bamenda, Moyuka, Ekona, Mbonge, Belo etc have all come under attack from Cameroon security forces, with some of the Hospitals shattered and rendered non-operational, like the case with the Batibo District Hospital.

While we all know that Southern Cameroonian lives have no value or meaning in the eyes of this barbaric Cameroun military, they should note that some of these medical centres are host to a large number of international medical expatriate staff. For example, the Nguti Catholic Mission Hospital.

The Mbingo Baptist Hospital is host to (1) American general surgeon, (1) American ENT surgeon, (1) American plastic surgeon, (1) American internist, (1) Swiss internist, and (1) American internist/pathologist, (2) American pediatricians, (2) American family medicine physicians, implying that any assault or threat on this Hospitals constitute a direct threat to US citizens. The threat is real as we remember the two nurses Nancy Azah and, Njong Padisco, shot and killed by the Cameroun military not a long ago.

It is inhumane to invade and attack Hospitals, causing collateral damage to innocent patients and staff, because you think one or two fighters may have or be receiving treatment at the said facility. This is unacceptable under all norms and must be condemned.

We all stand strong with our medical personnel doing a tremendous job to save lives under extremely challenging circumstances.

Medecins Sans Frontieres
U.S. Embassy Yaounde
StateDept
Amnesty International
International Criminal Court – ICC
International Crisis Group
Africa Policy Forum

E. Acha
15th September 2018

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