Boko Haram has slaughtered nearly 400 civilians in northern Cameroon, while a heavy-handed response by security forces and inhumane prison conditions have led to dozens more deaths, Amnesty International said in a report launched today.
Based on three research missions in 2015, the report, Human rights under fire: attacks and violations in Cameroon’s struggle with Boko Haram, documents how Boko Haram has killed at least 380 civilians since January 2014.
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.
“As Boko Haram has brought its violence to Cameroon, civilians have come increasingly under fire. By killing indiscriminately, destroying civilian property, abducting people and using children as suicide bombers, they have committed war crimes and caused untold fear and suffering to the civilian population,” said Alioune Tine, Amnesty International director for West and Central Africa.
“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.”