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20 Jul 2017

Boko Haram suspects killed, tortured in custody

Dozens of Boko Haram suspects have died in Cameroon custody, rights group Amnesty International said Thursday, with security forces brutally torturing them in the fight against the jihadist group.
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Though Boko Haram originated in Nigeria, the Islamic State-affiliated group has carried out frequent attacks in Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

The NGO said it had found 101 people who said they were held in secret and tortured by the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) and the General Directorate of External Research (DGRE), Cameroon’s intelligence services, between March 2013 and March 2017.

“They asked me to tell them if I knew members of Boko Haram. That’s when the guard tied my hands and feet behind my back and started to beat me with an electric cable, while throwing water on me at the same time,” Amnesty cited a prisoner as saying. “They beat me half to death,” he added.

Of the 101 documented individuals, 32 claimed to have witnessed the death of a fellow prisoner, according to the Amnesty report “Cameroon’s Secret Torture Chambers: Human Rights Violations and War Crimes in the Fight Against Boko Haram”.

The group said most of the torture was carried out in two sites: the BIR headquarters in Salak and a DGRE facility in Yaounde.

Amnesty said US and French military personnel were present at the BIR base in Salak and called on the two governments to investigate whether they were aware that illegal detention and torture was taking place on site.

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