U.S. gifts two military aircraft to Cameroon while the country tortures its citizens

Cameroon has received two military aircraft and armoured vehicles from the United States at a time when the West African country has been accused of torturing its citizens in the North West and South West who are fighting for independence.

The U.S. government delivered the second of the two C208 aircraft last Friday to assist in the fight against Boko Haram militants. Meanwhile, the government has labelled its separatist citizens as terrorists and is fighting them with full military force.

The aircraft are specialized in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance as each is fitted with inbuilt cameras that could capture images from the ground for up to 10 kilometres away, reports VOA.

The equipment also comes with America-trained Cameroonian pilots and it will be maintained in the next two years by the U.S., says Cameroon defence minister Joseph Beti Assomo who boarded the plane with U.S. Ambassador to Cameroon Peter Henry Barlerin.

However, the United States’s benefit in this deal is to have the presence of U.S. Marines in the country.

The donations go against the citizens of Cameroon and journalists who have been jailed and tortured for opposing the government and demanding for independence in the English-speaking North West region.

Cameroonian soldiers were ordered by the president, Paul Biya, to invade the anglophone regions and quell anti-government protests that were fuelled in 2016 by the level of marginalization in the Anglophone region and the use of excessive force by the military.

Appeals made by human rights bodies and the United Nations did not stop the torture and arson perpetrated by the Cameroon military, an act which has been denied by the government on several occasions despite video footages proving otherwise.

A recent video shows Cameroonian soldiers torturing a man believed to be a member of the separatist group in the North West region. He was held down on his belly under a chair while tied up and being struck with a machete under his feet as the soldiers mocked his alliance with the secessionist group.

There are several other videos showing soldiers torching houses among other crimes against humanity including the arrest of women, restriction of movement, and shutdown of internet connection to stifle dissent.

International bodies and agencies including the European Union have called on Cameroon to rather engage in dialogue with separatists to solve the root cause of the problem.

The UNHCR estimates that over 40,000 Cameroonians have fled as refugees to Nigeria to escape the government crackdown on the separatists.

This article by Ismail Akwei was first published on face2faceafrica.com

Published by Ismail Akwei

Ismail Akwei is an international journalist, digital media and communications professional, editor, writer, arts, culture and tourism advocate, human rights activist, pan-Africanist, tech enthusiast and history buff. He has worked with multinational media companies across Africa and has over a decade’s experience in journalism.

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