Yaounde - Humanitarian organisation Amnesty International has called for a probe into the whereabouts of 130 men and boys who were arrested 20 months ago in Cameroon during a crackdown on suspected Boko Haram terrorists.
In a statement released on International Day of the Disappeared, Amnesty called on authorities to come clean on the location of the missing detainees, urging them to stop using the fight against insurgency as a means to justify human rights violations.
"The government's 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.
Thorough and impartial investigation
The missing individuals, who were arrested during a search operation in Magdeme and Doublé in the north, were among 200 people who were arrested on December 27 of last year. Of those, at least 25 died on the night of the arrest, while a further 45 were transferred to an alternate facility the next day.
In addition, operatives are said to have unlawfully killed approximately nine civilians during the operation, while destroying more than 70 homes.
Amnesty confirmed that it suspected the victims to have gone missing through enforced disappearance, which was deemed a crime under international law.
The organisation has since relayed a complete list of names to Cameroon's minister of justice, minister of defense and military head in the north of the country. The families of those missing, however, have yet to receive any correspondence on the matter.
"The authorities must conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into what happened in Magdeme and Doublé, and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice. They must also provide full and effective reparation to the families of the victims,” Tine stated.