People visiting freed hostages in Bamenda, Apr. 19, 2021. (Moki Edwin Kindzeka/VOA)

Freed Cameroon Captives Says Separatists Chopped Off Their Ears and Fingers

BAMENDA, CAMEROON – VOA | Cameroon’s military has freed nine civilians who say they were held hostage by anglophone separatists for close to two months. Some of the freed hostages say the rebels tortured them, chopping off their ears and fingers.

Dozens of people on Monday visited the military camp in the English-speaking town of Bamenda. The visitors said they wanted to find out if their relatives were among the hostages freed by Cameroon’s army on Saturday.

The military said the nine former hostages are all males between 16 and 27 years old.

Peter Atteh, 24, says he was abducted from the village of Pinyin by armed men on March 23. He says separatists accused him of collaborating with the military when he refused to join their cause.

Atteh says while in captivity, he endured the worst moments of his life.

“We were sleeping on the bare floor. We had no food to eat,” he told VOA. “They were giving us plastic to defecate in, and later they tell us to go and throw it either in the bush or in the river. Even to urinate, we were given containers. You will urinate in the containers and the worse part of it is that we were being beaten. Beaten with a cutlass [machete].”

Atteh said six of his fingers were chopped off with a machete when he made a failed attempt to escape.

A freed hostage with a ear chopped off, in Bamenda, Apr. 19, 2021. (Moki Edwin Kindzeka/VOA)

Separatists have said on social media that the kidnappers were criminals, not their fighters — a claim the military has rejected.

All the freed hostages looked tired, hungry and unkempt. Two had parts of their ears chopped off. Two of the former hostages said they spent two months in captivity and that seven captives were freed after their families paid ransom.

Atteh said three other captives who agreed to join the fighters were not tortured.

The military said Saturday’s operation was designed to free kidnap victims in the northwestern towns of Pinyin, Santa and Akum. It said nine hostages were freed and two fighters killed while at least 20 armed men escaped and are hiding in the bush.

Mildred Awemo, a 26-year-old former student at Pinyin, says she saw the corpses of two civilians after the military raid. She says the troops arrested many civilians and tortured four who were rushed to a hospital in Pinyin by villagers.

“When the military attacks a village, they do not distinguish between the fighters and the civilians,” she said. “They just torment everybody. We want to be free but the military has to know who are the civilians, because they are trained to know the civilians and also the fighters. The military is trained to fight those who are holding guns and not the civilians who are harmless.”

Nka Valere, the commander of troops fighting separatists in the Northwest, denies any wrongdoing by his troops.

General Nka Valere, commander of Cameroon’s troops fighting separatists in Cameroon’s English-speaking Northwest region, Apr. 19, 2021. (Moki Edwin Kindzeka/VOA)

Nka says his troops will intensify attacks to clean the English-speaking northwestern town of Bamenda and its environs of fighters who are hiding in the community and creating disorder.

He says the duty of the military is to ensure that total peace and serenity returns. He says it is imperative for the population to collaborate with the troops by denouncing suspected fighters hiding in the midst of civilians.

Separatists have been fighting since 2017 to carve out an independent, English-speaking nation from the rest of French-speaking Cameroon.

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  1. kikiki ambazonia comedy independence. hope chopping off ears of their own people will give them independence. amba na one chance.

  2. Did Amba also held Wazizi captive and killed him? All this sabotage will not held LRC…We are going forward

    • so amba is kidnapping and chopping its own people’s ears because lrc killed Wazizi. comedy revolution. amba imaginary facebook country. hahahahahaa

  3. @nelson ”so amba is kidnapping and chopping its own people’s ears because lrc killed Wazizi.”…Wow,so ”anglophones” are not your people,they are Amba’s people,right? I thought u are claiming that ”anglophones” in Cameroon are your citizens? Comedy country called LRC with their imaginary facebook territory, called NOSO. ha ha ha ha….

    • Amba is doing worst on the people they say they are fighting for than lrc. thestop dreaming there’s no country on planet earth call ambazomia and there will never be one. it ends on facebook and kidnapping. wake up from your dream

  4. @nelson ”Amba is doing worst on the people they say they are fighting for than lrc.”… that why LRC don’t want to leave Ambasonia? becos Ambasonia is doing ”worst” to the people they say they are fighting for?…U will leave,by force.

  5. This is the long dreamt Ambaland.

    Make no mistake, this is exactly how those diaspora DEVILS dream of ruling Amba.

    Those above with chopped off ears and fingers should count themselves very lucky, in a real Amba-world scenario it would have been chopped off heads…

  6. @Zam-Zam Please leave Ambasonia and focus on fighting your master,France.That is the people u and your generation should be fighting,not Ambasonia.Leave Ambasonia,now.

  7. ]@Zam-Zam Don’t bring your inability to face your master to Ambasonia…We are fighting u,becos u have gradually over the years,become our master.Do same to your own master,France.Are u not men?

  8. no one in their rightful mind trust any statements coming from a dying horse french cameroon government because this is their own failed attempts joke show to vindicate gorilla fighters who they are unable to defeat over 4 years ongoing.The entire Southern Cameroon of SW & NW is militarised by the french cameroon government since 2016 of a ongoing genocidal war declared by their president, why should Separatists waste their time to kidnap civilians who they cannot feed wheir main purpose is to defend their communities,themselves by fighting a invassive, oppressive french cameroon military BIR? clown regime

  9. They were sleeping on the bare floor and given no food to eat,yet one would wonder why a person who eats nothing should defecate in the first place.and why should a captive in his rightful thinking mind walk into the bush or river with a rubber bucket full of whatever,and come back to his captors.

    Last but not the least,an ear chopped off in captivity will not look like that unless the Amba boys have trained medical personnel amongst them.lrc thugs that shoot at people indiscriminately will have time to go into an Amba camp and free male hostages,just like wonders shall never end,lrc lies shall never end.