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Fear of Boko Haram: Cameroon deports 100,000 Nigerians

By Ndahi Marama

Maiduguri—The Human Rights Watch, HRW, has said Cameroon deported 100,000 Nigerian refugees in the hope of stemming the spread of Boko Haram.

This came 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.

Meanwhile, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State said yesterday that his greatest wish was for his successor not to inherit the problems of internally displaced persons, IDPs and  Boko Haram crisis as he did in 2011.

The governor, who spoke at Government House in Maiduguri when he inaugurated committees with mandates to up rebuilt communities and resettle over two million internally displaced persons, said on no account should any IDP be resettled without recourse to safety and dignity.

The terms of reference of the committees included verification and registration of all returning IDPs,   issuance of I.D cards to them and numbering of permanent shelters in addition to resettling them.

Shettima said:  “As governor of Borno State, my greatest wish is that whoever succeeds me does not inherit the Boko Haram crisis and the existence of IDP camps in Borno State. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala grant our administration this noble wish.


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