Cameroon deport over 100,000 Nigerian refugees to stem spread of Boko-haram - HRW reports

According to Human Rights Watch, HRW, Cameroon deported over 100,000 Nigerian refugees, in the bid for a precautionary measure to stem the rate of the spread of Boko-haram in the country.

This surfaced as Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, yesterday said his greatest wish was for his successor not to inherit internally displaced persons, IDPs and the Boko Haram crisis as he did in 2011.

HRW said in the report issued yesterday that the deportation defied a plea by UN refugee agency not to return anyone to north-eastern Nigeria, where Boko Haram killed thousands of people, until security and human rights situation improved considerably.

The HRW report said the deported people were likely to face new violence, displacement and destitution.

The group, which investigates allegations of human rights abuses worldwide, said the report was based on interviews with more than 60 refugees.

It added that soldiers tortured, assaulted and sexually exploited Nigerian asylum seekers and denied them access to the UN refugee agency.

The rights group claimed Cameroon deported, often violently, tens of thousands of the refugees since early 2015.

“The Cameroonian military’ torture and abuse of Nigerian refugees seems to be driven by an arbitrary decision to punish them for Boko Haram attacks in Cameroon and to discourage Nigerians from seeking asylum,” Gerry Simpson, HRW associate refugee director, said.

Boko Haram had posed steady threat to communities in the north-east of Nigeria and launched offensives in neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.