The trial of seven Cameroonian soldiers accused of participating in killing two women and two children started behind closed doors, judicial sources said, after a video of the incident sparked an international outcry.
The soldiers were arrested after the video surfaced on social media in July 2018. Shaky footage showed two women, one with an infant on her back, being led across dusty scrubland by uniformed men who accused them of belonging to the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram.
Moments later, two men stepped back, levelled rifles and fired a series of rounds into the victims.
Government and army officials initially dismissed the video as “fake news” meant to tarnish the government’s image, but later announced arrests.
Sources said the trial began on Monday in a court in Yaounde, capital of the West African country.
Six soldiers admitted to having participated in the killings but said their commander gave the order to open fire, said the sources who are not authorised to speak publicly about the case.
The commander denied giving the order, the sources said.
It is not clear how long the trial will last.
Rights activists, including Amnesty International, accuse government soldiers of repeatedly engaging in torture and extra-judicial killings in the far north. Government denies systematic abuses.