There is widespread torture and abuse at the hands of security forces in Cameroon against suspected members of Boko Haram, with some torture cases so severe they have been fatal, Amnesty International said in a report released on Thursday.
We have repeatedly and unequivocally condemned the atrocities and war crimes committed by Boko Haram in Cameroon. But, nothing could justify the callous and widespread practice of torture committed by the security forces against ordinary Cameroonians, who are often arrested without any evidence and forced to endure unimaginable pain,” said Alioune Tine, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa.
The human rights group has identified two primary sites that have reportedly been used for detainment and torture, both run by the military. Amnesty has generated their report through a combination of interviews with people claiming to have been victims of the abuse, as well as satellite imagery, photos, and videos.
The report says security forces used at least 24 different torture techniques, to include stress positioning, dragging bodies while being beaten, and hanging individuals with their limbs tied behind their backs to be beaten.
Detainees reportedly said the soldiers wanted to know the names of other members of Boko Haram. Amnesty International believes that hundreds of people remain detained and exposed to this treatment. They also claim that US and French military personnel have visited the locations of these prisons and torture centers, but did not go so far as to accuse them of being aware or complicit of the activities that were occurring there.
Boko Haram has been waging a violent jihadist terrorist campaign across western Africa for years. It is estimated that Boko Haram militants have killed over 1,500 people in Cameroon alone, on top of the thousands it has killed and abducted across the continent.
The government of Cameroon has denied accusations that its security forces are engaged in torture, and accused Amnesty of being a propaganda tool for Boko Haram, the BBC reports.
Image courtesy of Department of Defense