from Africa in Transition

Cameroonian Security Service Abuses in Boko Haram Fight

December 29, 2015

Blog Post
Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

More on:

Sub-Saharan Africa

Terrorism and Counterterrorism

Nigeria

Wars and Conflict

Heads of State and Government

The Cameroonian military is facing accusations of misconduct. On December 8, the Associated Press (AP) reported that Cameroonian troops crossed into Nigeria and killed about 150 villagers, looting and burning the village. On December 23, AP reported that Cameroonian troops killed at least seventy residents in Nigeria’s Borno state. Meanwhile, Amnesty International on December 27, called on the Cameroonian authorities to “come clean over the fate of 130 people rounded up and detained by Cameroonian forces a year ago following security operations against Boko Haram.”

Details about such events are sketchy and the Cameroonian authorities are quick to deny the allegations. Similar allegations have long been made by local people and human rights organizations about the behavior of the Nigerian security service. There is anecdotal evidence that security service abuses are a driver of Boko Haram recruitment.

In the struggle against Boko Haram, government security services are poorly trained and under equipped. Under the best of circumstances, the identity of individual Boko Haram operatives is difficult to determine. Too often the security service default has been to shoot first and ask questions later. Indeed, some Nigerian military officers off-the-record have complained that intelligence about Boko Haram is inadequate in part because of the lack of systematic debriefing of captured operatives.

Thus far, Abuja has not complained publicly about the operation of Cameroonian troops on its sovereign territory. Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Benin, and Cameroon are involved in a joint effort against Boko Haram.

Meanwhile, the governor of Nigeria’s Borno state held Boko Haram responsible for December 27 and December 28 attacks in Maiduguri that killed at least fifty and wounded up to two-hundred. Also on December 28 two female suicide bombers killed “many people” in the city of Madagali, according to a military spokesman.

More on:

Sub-Saharan Africa

Terrorism and Counterterrorism

Nigeria

Wars and Conflict

Heads of State and Government

Close