Amnesty calls for probe of 130 missing in Cameroon

By: AFP      Published: 01:11 AM, 10 Mar, 2020
Amnesty calls for probe of 130 missing in Cameroon

Amnesty International on Monday urged Cameroon officials to investigate the "enforced disappearance" of at least 130 people during operations against Boko Haram jihadists in 2014.

The human rights group said in a statement that "more than 130 men and boys who were rounded up from their villages more than five years ago have not been heard from since."

They were part of a larger group of more than 200 reportedly taken "during a violent raid" on December 27, 2014 by security forces in Magdeme and Double, two villages in northern Cameroon.

During the raid, "eight people were killed including a child and more than 70 buildings burned down," the statement said.

Amnesty noted that Cameroon's authorities have said that "only 70 men were arrested" and acknowledged "that 25 died on their first night in custody, but have not disclosed the location of the bodies, or even identified the victims."

Cameroon deployed thousands of soldiers to the Far-North region in 2014 to curb attacks by Boko Haram militants, a period during which several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) accused the army of attacking civilians.

A few months after the raid on Magdeme and Double, an army colonel who commanded the regional gendarme forces was dismissed and charged with "negligence," but Amnesty noted that a year ago he was named as an advisor to the defence ministry.

Neither the army nor the government has responded to the latest Amnesty statement, but government minister Paul Atanga Nji has accused international NGOs including Amnesty of "conspiring against Cameroon and against its defence and security forces".