Soldiers lay siege to Ijaw communities, says group
Office of the Amnesty International (AI) in Central Africa has raised the alarm over indiscriminate torture by the Cameroonian government, which leads to the death and maiming of innocent people, among them Nigerians.
The AI Country Campaigner in the region, Olivia Tchamba, in a statement in Akure yesterday, attributed the inhumane treatment to the fight against Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria.
Tchamba disclosed that the Cameroonian authorities are illegally detaining and torturing people, lamenting that some of the victims do not survive the torture. “The details are chilling and are made worse by the fact that many have been arrested with little or no evidence. They stop at nothing to win, including arresting people and torturing suspects until they confess under duress.
“This means that if you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time in the North of Cameroon, you run the risk of being arbitrarily arrested, tortured or even killed,” she said.
The AI campaigner noted that many of the victims were men from Kanuri, who are mostly Nigerians; while victims also include women, minors and people with mental disabilities.
They are often taken to illegal detention facilities and are tortured, humiliated, intimidated and punished. They are beaten with sticks, electric cables and machetes. On several occasions, they are forced into stress positions for days and subjected to suspensions and drowning.
Tchamba, who appealed to humanitarians and human rights activists across the globe to prevail on Cameroon to stop torturing innocent people in the name of security, lamented that some do not survive the torture.
AI expressed hopes that the international community could consolidate efforts at stopping the Cameroonian authorities from such inhumane treatment and respect the sanctity of human lives.
Meanwhile, the Ijaw People’s Development Initiative (IPDI) has condemned alleged maltreatment meted to residents of Bomadi, Tuomo and Ogbogbagbene communities by soldiers deployed to the communities following last week’s killing of a soldier by unknown gunmen.
The IPDI team, which toured the affected communities yesterday to ascertain the true position of the militarisation of the communities, led by its National President, Ozobo Austin, said they were shocked at the level of destruction of property of innocent market women in Bomadi and its environs.
The group urged the military authorities to call the soldiers to order as they observed large call harassment of the residents. According to the spokesman of the group, Mayor Timi Ogobiri, the tour of the communities revealed high level of intimidation and abuse of the citizens’ rights.