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Washington scales back military aid to Cameroon

Washington has announced it is scaling back its military aid to Cameroon, over allegations of human rights abuses by government troops, diplomatic sources in Yaoundé told APA on Thursday.The announcement, already made by leading American media, was confirmed, under condition of anonymity to APA, by a US diplomatic representative in Cameroon, estimating the compromised military support stood at some CFA97 billion.

This suspension, which will be further slashed if the situation so requires, concerns in particular security assistance, observation through radars, patrol boats and aircraft, armoured vehicles, peacekeeping, counter-terrorism and training programmes.

At the same time, the State Department continues to urge the Cameroonian government to take seriously all allegations of gross human rights violations by the army, particularly in the English-speaking regions of the North-West and South-West, where a secessionist conflict has been raging since October 2016, but also in the Far North, where the defence and security forces are engaged in the fight against Boko Haram militants.

Yaoundé is also urged to investigate these allegations in depth, to identify those responsible for possible human rights violations and to disclose the results of the investigations to the public.

Last May, US ambassador to Cameroon Peter Henry Barlerin called on the army to “treat captured enemies with humanity, provide for the needs of refugees and internally displaced persons, and develop mechanisms to welcome Boko Haram’s defectors and reintegrate them into society.”

At the same time, the diplomat accused the English-speaking separatists of murdering soldiers, kidnapping government officials and setting schools on fire.

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