Human Rights Record in Question
12th – 18th July: Cameroon is reopening its border with Nigeria in the Far North Region, as it considers the threat from Boko Haram is subsiding sufficiently for both countries to resume commercial activities. A spike in suicide attacks over the past year has led to a crackdown by the government in Cameroon’s Far North region, which has severely reduced Boko Haram’s ability to hold territory and control transport routes. The region’s governor, speaking to Bloomberg, praised the efforts of military and self-defence groups in contributing to the state gaining the upper hand in the conflict. Fighting nevertheless continues – fighter jets of the Chadian and Nigerian Air Force (NAF) backed Nigerian ground troops stationed in Kangarwa, Northern Borno, repelled an attack by suspected Boko Haram militants against their positions on Tuesday evening.
The seemingly successful pushback of Boko Haram militants in Cameroon has come at a price. According to rights group Amnesty International, over 1,000 people accused of supporting Boko Haram in Cameroon are being detained in military bases and prisons, often without any evidence, and dozens are dying from disease, malnutrition and torture. The Cameroonian government, led by long-standing president Paul Biya, has dismissed the report as misleading and false. The president’s record is tainted by previous instances of political repression.