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New Amnesty report: Boko Haram and Cameroon security forces found guilty

October 01, 2015
tags:#amnesty international, #Boko Haram, #Cameroon, #human rights violation
by:Israel Bionyi
A new report “Human rights under fire: attacks and violations in Cameroon's struggle with Boko Haram” launched by Amnesty International reveals how the Boko Haram attacks have encouraged more violence in northern Cameroon.

According to the report, Boko Haram militants have murdered 400 civilians in northern Cameroon while the Cameroon military’s hefty counter attacks and unfriendly prison conditions let to the suffering and death of dozens more.

Untold suffering

The report, which was built on three international missions in northern Cameroon and interviews with more than 160 people, said “Boko Haram has killed at least 380 civilians since January 2014. Since mid 2014, Boko Haram fighters have attacked scores of towns and villages in the far north region of Cameroon, killing and kidnapping civilians, burning down hundreds of houses and looting livestock and other property. In a raid on 15 October 2014, Boko Haram fighters shot or slit the throats of at least 30 people in the border town of Amchide. One eyewitness told Amnesty International: "I saw Boko Haram fighters brutally cutting the throats of at least two of my neighbours.”

Mero Zubairo is a 30 year old woman who lost her younger brother in 2014 in the Boko Haram attacks. After the Amnesty International report, FairPlanet discussed with Mero what happened. According to family reports, Imrana Zoubairou, her brother was a hard working lorry driver who transported goods from Cameroon to Chad. He died a tragic death alongside 13 of his colleagues on the same day in the Cameroon-Chad borders, some 50 kilometers away from Ndjamena.

“I lost my younger brother; Imrana Zubairou on the 24th of July 2014. He was slaughtered by Boko Haram forces at the border between Cameroon and Chad. His money (800 000FCFA) and parts of his goods were taken away. He was the sole breadwinner of the house. He left us with his pregnant wife and two children. Our family has been suffering since he was killed,” Mero Zubairo cries.

Thieving Soldiers

However, the report also denounces the flaws of the Cameroon security forces. The report says the Cameroon Army is guilty of remorseless killings, mass arrest, torture, unfair prison conditions, among others. “In response Cameroonian security forces have raided villages, destroying homes, killing civilians and detaining over 1,000 suspects, some as young as five years old. Serious incidents have not been effectively investigated, including one where at least 25 people died in custody. More than 130 people remain missing.”

Alioune Tine, Amnesty International director for West and Central Africa present at the launch said: “At the same time, while providing much needed protection to civilians, the response by Cameroonian security forces has also been marred by serious violations. Cameroon’s security forces have killed civilians unlawfully or through excessive use of force. People have been arbitrary arrested, and many held in inhumane conditions which have led to dozens of deaths.”

However, last week, traders of Mokolo in the Mayo Tsanaga division staged a march to manifest their anger against the rife in robbery perpetrated by the military and dropped an accusation at the Division Officer for Mayo Tsanaga’s office. Meanwhile, testimonies from traders who were raided by the military has let to the arrest of two soldiers, Corporals Manfo Steve and Mba Rodolph, working for the Army’s air unit.

And Alioune Tine is taken aback by the fact that the army, which has as its mission to protect civilians from Boko Haram, also “committed atrocities themselves.”

Get the Amnesty International full report here

Article written by:
Israel Bionyi
Alioune Tine, Amnesty International director for West and Central Africa, speaking at the conference center of Hotel La Falaise in Yaoundé.
© Amnesty International
Alioune Tine, Amnesty International director for West and Central Africa, speaking at the conference center of Hotel La Falaise in Yaoundé.
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