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NEWS : Local News  

Sierra Leone News : Amnesty International Says 130 people still missing 20 months after their arrest in Cameroon
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Aug 30, 2016, 17:04
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30 August 2016 Authorities in Cameroon must provide answers about the whereabouts of 130 men and boys still unaccounted for 20 months after they were arrested in a crackdown on suspected Boko Haram members, Amnesty International said today on the International Day of the Disappeared.

 

The Cameroonian authorities must come clean about the fate of these 130 missing men and boys. The governments continued failure to reveal their whereabouts adds insult to injury to the families who have already waited a long time for news of their loved ones, said Alioune Tine, Amnesty International West and Central Africa Regional Director.

 

The missing people were among more than 200 arrested during a cordon-and-search operation in the villages of Magdeme and Doubl Far North region - on 27 December 2014. Of those arrested, at least 25 died in custody on the night of the arrests, with another 45 transferred to Maroua prison the day after. Three have died since due to dire conditions in detention.

 

In the same operation, the security forces also unlawfully killed at least nine civilians, including a child, and destroyed more than 70 homes and other buildings.

 

 We really dont know what to do I have been to Maroua prison eight times we are asking for help. We want the authorities to tell us where our loved ones are.

 

Another man described the security forces operation that led to the arrests:

 

We heard shots being fired all around Everyone wondered what was happening. There were soldiers everywhere. Then, they [soldiers] took some of the men, stripped them and beat them before going to look for those who were hiding in their houses. Then they [soldiers] rounded them up and loaded them into their trucks. We searched for them everywhere after that but couldnt find them.

 

According to the authorities, the 25 men and boys who died in detention were held in a makeshift cell at the Gendarmeries headquarters of Maroua, the main city in the Far North region. They have never revealed the identity of the victims, the cause and circumstances of their deaths, or their place of burial to their families. 

 

In March 2015, the authorities announced that an internal inquiry within the Ministry of Defense was being undertaken to investigate the deaths. The results of this inquiry were not communicated publicly and only one person Colonel Z Ongun Charles, Head of the Gendarmerie in the Far North region when the incident occurred is facing trial. The charges against him, however, are limited to negligence and breach of custody rules.

 

Amnesty International has also documented an additional 17 cases of suspected enforced disappearances of people accused of supporting Boko Haram in the Far North region between June 2014 and June 2016.


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