According to the United Nations, the massacre on the night of Feb. 13 left 23 civilians dead including 15 children in the village of Ntumbo. Nine of the children were aged under five and that two of the victims were pregnant women.
The government had previously denied any role in the killings in the region, where English-speaking separatists have been fighting government forces since 2017. Now the government has admitted their part in 13 of those 23 deaths.
But on a radio statement released Tuesday, the government finally admitted to the killings. "Overcome with panic, the three soldiers helped by some members of the self-defense group tried to hide the incident by setting fires," the statement said.
After NGOs alleged that the army and a Fulani militia ally were responsible, President Paul Biya responded to international pressure by demanding an investigation into the killings.
With the first results from that investigation, Biya ordered the arrest of the sergeant who led the raid
English speakers account for nearly a fifth of Cameroon's population of 24 million. The conflict between Cameroon's army and English-speaking fighters seeking to form a breakaway state called Ambazonia began after the government cracked down violently on peaceful protesters complaining of being marginalized by the French-speaking majority.