Thursday, September 17

Probe abuses in Boko Haram fight, Amnesty tells Cameroon

Amnesty International has called on Cameroon for urgent investigation into the death of 25 prisoners and disappearance of 130 people after raids by security forces.

Steve Cockburn, Amnesty Deputy Regional Director, appealed to Cameroonian authorities to launch an independent, impartial and rigorous investigation into the killings, disappearances and detentions.

“We can’t have a situation where the population is scared of the people who are protecting them.

“What that means concretely is a change of tactics to avoid the type of operation that leads to the mass arrests we have seen,” he said.

He said this has caused rising concern about possible abuses arising from a crackdown on the Boko Haram militants.

Cockburn said the Nigerian insurgent group had committed war crimes in neighbouring northern Cameroon by killing more than 380 civilians since the start of 2014.

“While providing protection to civilians in northern Cameroon, security forces had committed serious human rights violations.

“More than 1,000 suspects had been detained in raids by authorities on villages, in which homes were destroyed and civilians killed.”

He said investigation had revealed that overcrowding, lack of sanitation and inadequate health care in a prison in Maroua had led to the death of at least 40 prisoners between March and May.

Cockburn called for a rapid improvement in conditions of detention.


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