16, July 2016
Cameroonians in their great majority are still waiting for publicized press releases from human rights organisations out rightly condemning human casualties caused Boko Haram suicide bombings last 12th, 22nd and 25th July in the Far North Region. The alacrity with which they have been condemning alleged human rights violations by the Cameroonian defence and security forces mismatches their apparent reluctance in responding to the 13 deaths and 10 injured caused by two suicide bombers on July 12, 2015 in the locality of Fotokol as well as the three suicide attacks perpetrated in Maroua on 22nd and 25th July, 2015 leaving a total of 34 dead and 117 wounded.
To many, the silence of human rights organisations cannot be comprehended, thus raising questions as to who is really behind these NGOs? Who is footing their bills? Are they fronts for those plotting to destabilize stable countries such as Cameroon? On June 20, 2015, Amnesty International issued a press release denouncing the alleged detention of 80 children in a center for minors in the Far North Region for reported links with Boko Haram. The release quoted Cameroonian authorities as saying that the kids arrested in a Koranic school were preparing a suicide-bomb mission for Boko Haram.
An allegation which some human rights organisations, including Amnesty International, said was unfounded. Could this explain the latter’s silence when the two young suicide bombers detonated their bombs in Fotokol on July 12th and later on 22nd and 25th July in Maroua? The answer is blowing in the wind. Nevertheless, the silence is sharply in contrast with Amnesty’s condemnation of Boko Haram’s human rights violations in neighbouring Nigeria. In a report early this year, the NGO claimed Boko Haram had since beginning of 2014 murdered at least 5,500 civilians in North Eastern Nigeria, displaced at least one million persons due to violence and kidnapped over 2,000 women and young girls.
Amnesty International is not the only organization to have gone vocal. A Cameroonian-based NGO called the Network of Human Rights Defenders in Central Africa (REDHAC) issued a release on February 19, 2015 denouncing human rights abuses by Cameroon’s security forces in their fight against Boko Haram. Although, the release timidly mentioned Boko Haram violations, it focused on alleged intimidation, acts of torture by Cameroonian soldiers against the population to gather information.
REDHAC has surprisingly gone silent after the Fotokol and Maroua Boko Haram suicide-bombings, likewise another NGO, Nouveaux Droits de l’Homme (NDH-Cameroon) which supported REDHAC with a release, even appreciated support given REDHAC by other NGOs such as “Un Monde Avenir” and the Civil Society Platform for Democracy. What now explains their silence after the three recent suicide-bombings in Far North region of Cameroon?