Following pressure from within and out of the country, president Paul Biya created the commission to shed more light on the circumstances under which the massacre took place and establish responsibility of the perpetrators of the gruesome act.
In a communique signed Tuesday by minister of state secretary general at the presidency of Cameroon Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh, the president of the Republic has ordered the institution of disciplinary proceedings against Major Nyiagono Ze Charles Eric, commander of the 52nd Motorized Infantry Battalion and some of his subordinates set to face disciplinary action for their role in the massacre with Major Ze to be sanctioned severely for failing to “personally supervise the operation carried out by his troops”.
The commission said Ngarbuh had become a centre where “secessionist terrorists” regrouped and a logistics pole for the supply of arms, ammunitions and fuel for “secessionist” groups located in Bui and part of Ngoketunjia. To this end, a reconnaissance mission was authorized on February 12, 2020 by Major Nyiangono Ze Charles Eric, Commander of the 52nd Motorized Infantry Battalion,BIM, in Nkambe. The operation was led by Sergeant Baba Guida commander of the Ntumbaw joint regiment.
The detachment according to the communique left the Ntumbaw base on February 13 at 10 p.m. with three servicemen and two gendarmes. As they advanced, the detachment Commander decided to incorporate seventeen members of a local vigilante committee into his team
“At the entrance of the village of Ngarbuh, the group split into two teams to comb Ngarbuh 2 and Ngarbuh 3 neighborhoods.”
The Commission of Inquiry found that: “Upon entering the Ngarbuh 3 neighbourhood, the place of the tragedy, the team led by Sergeant Baba Guida, comprising Gendarme Sanding Sanding Cyrille, Private 1st Class Haranga and the 10 members of the vigilante committee, launched an attack based on information provided by a repented terrorist and a farmer from the area.
“Following an exchange of gunfire, during which five terrorists were killed, and many weapons seized, the detachment discovered that three women and ten children had died because of its action.
“Panic-striken, the three servicemen with the help of some members of the vigilante committee, tried to conceal the facts by causing fires.
“On his return to Ntumbaw, Sergeant Baba Guida who led the operation, submitted a deliberately biased report to his superiors, a report on which the Government initially based its statement.”
Sergeant Baba Guida, Commander of the Ntumbaw Joint Regiment as well as Gendarme Sanding Sanding Cyrille and private first class Haranga Gilbert are already at the disposal of officials at the Yaounde military tribunal. Some ten members of the vigilante committee who assisted the servicemen to launch the attack on Ngarbuh 3 are actively being tracked down.
Major Nyiangono Ze Charles Eric, Commander of the 52nd Motorised Infantry Battalion, BIM, is faulted for knowing how sensitive the Ngarbuh area was, due to prevailing high intercommunity tensions, but failed to personally supervise the operation carried out by his troops.
On his part, Sergeant Baba Guida, Commander of the Ntumbaw Joint Regiment is said to have involved armed civilians in a military operation, failed to control his troops during the operation, ordered the burning down of houses and deliberately produced a false report on the operation and its toll.
Gendarme Sanding Sanding Cyrille and Private 1st Class Haranga Gilbert, the inquiry reveals, took part in an operation that caused the death of several persons and the burning of houses.
As part of appeasement measures, the head of state Paul Biya has ordered the exhumation of the corpses of the victims in order to give them a decent burial at the cost of the State and to establish the necessary evidence to bring out the truth.
The rightful claimants of the of the victims of the Masacre are being identified by local administrative authorities based on presidential instructions in view to enable the State pay appropriate compensations and indemnities.
To strengthen security in Ngarbuh, the Head of State ordered the creation of a military base and the setting up of other public services which should help to ensure better protection of civilians against the abuses of armed groups, the return of displaced persons and the easing of intercommunity tensions.