Bizzare claims linking Anglophone separatist fighters to cannibalism emerge as fighting in Cameroon intensify

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Screenshot of Minister Atanga Nji’s interview. IMAGE/INSTAGRAM

By ARISON TAMFU in CAMEROON

newsdesk@reporter.co.ke

As a deadly armed insurgency continues in Cameroon videos have emerged that link some of the Anglophone separatist fighters to cannibalism setting the Internet on fire.

And while the cannibalism claims videos have gone viral sparking heated debates on social media networks, the insurgency in Cameroon continues to claim more lives.

The fighting in Southern Cameroon has so far claimed more than 200 separatist fighters, 90 security officers and at least 150 civilians and the statistics continue to grow..

Since November 2017, armed separatist groups fighting for the Independence of Anglophone Cameroon (Southern Cameroons)  have launched a series of attacks against Cameroonian military and police barracks that have killed at least 90 members of security forces and over 150 civilians according to the International Crisis Group.

An unknown number of separatist fighters have died in these clashes though some military officers estimate 200 armed separatists have been killed. Since the beginning of the conflict, videos showing the violence have been circulating online.

One of the gruesome videos posted online in late June 2018 purportedly displayed a scene of a man cooking parts of a human body. The video showed the man crouching down next to a cooking pot containing what appears to be a human head, human leg and two hands, bubbling over the fire. Voices of other people can be heard but they are not visible.

Viewer Discretion: A man purportedly preparing human parts. This video looks shocking, though it does not actually show cannibalism

“If you have eaten meat but you have never eaten this, then you have never eaten meat,” the man says in Pidgin English while building up the fire.

Media Frenzy

The original cannibalism video was posted on Facebook and Instagram on June 20, 2018 and immediately went viral in Cameroon. Those who shared the video on social media in Cameroon claimed that, it was a recorded scene of the Anglophone separatist fighters eating human flesh.

“These Anglophone devil fighters eat human flesh to fortify themselves against our courageous soldiers” one comment on Facebook said. At least seven Cameroonian news media including online and radio picked up the story and reported that Anglophone separatist fighters are cannibals.

In the video “one can hear one of the separatists extolled the merits of human flesh that would make them stronger and not vulnerable” reported Koaci Website, one of Cameroon’s leading online news media.

Government Endorsement

On June 25, 2018, five days after the publication of the video, the Cameroonian government appeared to be quiet excited about the fact that the Anglophone separatist fighters (that they regularly call terrorists) were caught red-handed preparing human flesh.

The minister of territorial administration, Paul Atanga Nji in a televised interview on “Presidence Actu” on state television, CRTV expressed his dismay about the video. “Presidence Actu” is a weekly show on state television that reports on the activities of the president of the republic.

“You saw the images not long ago, an innocent human being was chopped into pieces, put in the cooking pot and he was being prepared like meat or tomato sauce. You see the atrocities? Cameroon’s own terrorists (separatist fighters) are worse than Boko Haram. That is the truth because I have not seen Boko Haram prepare human beings in cooking pots. We have seen the images” Paul Atanga Nji said emphatically, in the widely viewed and circulated interview.

So, was the video shot in Cameroon and are the Anglophone separatist fighters eating human flesh?

The Answer is NO

Here are the facts

The video was not shot in Cameroon. It is actually a video made on a set of a Nigerian movie. Hakeem Effect that first made public the video on social media was shocked about the allegations and took to Instagram with a statement and a short clip to debunk the claims of cannibalism.

“For those who think this guy is a cannibal, concerning the video going viral on the internet, we are here to clear the air, and to disclaim the allegation….my name is Hakeem Effect, a special effects makeup artist from Nigeria, and we are on the set of Omambala!!!!! Pls the bloggers that started all this should try and start another publication to clear the air about the fake cheap publicity you’ve made few days ago” he said in an Instagram post.

Daily Reporter contacted Hakeem Effect for further details.

“I am surprised that a minister in Cameroon referred to our video. No one is eating human beings here. We are doing a film in Nigeria. What you see in the pot are plastics fabricated to look like human parts. There are not human parts” said Hakeem Effect.

According to the Instagram post, the man squatting beside the cooking pot in the video and commenting about the meat is called Uche Mbachu. Who was part of the film crew and was just posing on set. On his own Instagram account, Mbachu said that he is a make-up artist and not a cannibal.

 

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