Cameroon dismisses Amnesty report on Anglophone crisis terms it as ‘crude lies’

Cameroon’s President Paul Biya is seen at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York City, U.S. September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Cameroon is accusing Amnesty International of disseminating “crude lies” after it said security forces had committed summary killings, arrests and property destruction to try to crush a separatist insurgency.

Through a statement received on Friday, Communications Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary said that the report “is stuffed with crude lies, hasty deductions (and) slanderous, unacceptable manoeuvering, which are part of a strategy of harassment and destabilisation of our country in its fight against the terrorist threat,”

It further goes on to say that the government “rejects this supposed report with the greatest firmness,”

In a 37-page report, Amnesty International report faulted gov’t, separatists and said it had catalogued “unlawful killings, destruction of private property, arbitrary arrests and torture” by the security forces in two restive regions of the West African country.

According to Amnesty, the report was based on interviews conducted of more than 150 victims of, or eyewitnesses to, violence committed either by the security forces or by separatists.

Aside from accusing government forces of abuses, it also said separatists had killed “at least” 44 members of the security forces, and also targeted ordinary people, including traditional chiefs, whom they suspected to be informants.

In late 2017, violence surged after radicals declared an independent state — an entity named Ambazonia that has not been recognised internationally, and launched an armed campaign, which met with a crackdown.