Eight Cameroonian soldiers were detained after a video which showed them dressed in uniform torturing a victim with a machete until he fell unconscious surfaced, according to the country’s Ministry of Defence.
The video of the incident, which happened on February 11 in the North West region, was widely shared and attracted widespread criticism.
“The concerned have been detained on the instructions of the defence minister,” a statement from the ministry said.
In one scene, a soldier steps onto the back of a shirtless man and then beats him with the flat side of a machete, while his colleague wets the man’s buttocks.
Another scene in the video shows a soldier standing on the ankles of the man as he lies on the ground. The soldier goes on to use the flat end of the machete to beat his soles as he screams, and another soldier slaps him.
The video later shows the man unresponsive and lying face down with his head in a gutter. A soldier pokes him with the muzzle of his rifle, while another one says, off camera, that they should hold off because they do not know if the victim is a separatist fighter.
According to the ministry, the man in the video was suspected of helping separatist fighters.
Cameroon has been plagued by protests and violence since 2016 as residents in the English-speaking regions claim they have been marginalized for several years by the central government and the French-speaking majority.
The two English-speaking regions, South West and North West provinces, became the epicentre of the conflict involving separatist militants who have targeted the army and demanded the closure of local government offices and schools.
Over time, the movement became more radicalised and separatists renamed the regions the Republic of Ambazonia, which has never been recognised internationally.
The conflict has claimed more than 3,000 lives and forced over 700,000 people to flee their homes since 2017.