Urgent Interventions

Follow-up of case CMR 040408_Mr. Bouba Ousmanou has been located but fears for his physical and psychological integrity

Case CMR 040408.1_ENG
Follow-up of case CMR 040408

Whereabouts located/ Torture and ill-treatment/ Forced disappearances/ Fear for personal safety

Geneva, 15 April 2008

The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) has received new information regarding the following situation in Cameroun.

New information

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the Movement for the Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms (Mouvement pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme et des Libertés, MDDHL), a member of OMCT SOS-Torture network, that Mr. Bouba Ousmanou was located and is currently detained at the Gendarmerie Brigade of Maroua (brigade de gendarmerie de Maroua).

According to the information received, the victim’s mother was informed by phone by an unidentified person that Mr. Bouba Ousmanou had been consign to the Commander of the Gendarmerie Company of Maroua (Commandant de la compagnie de gendarmerie), apparently for the need of the investigation, and that he was detained in the cell of the territorial brigade. On 8 April 2008, Mr. Bouba Ousmanou’s mother, along with a member of the MDDHL, went there and managed to see the victim.

According to the same information, Mr. Bouba Ousmanou had been transferred, on 7 April 2008, to the Gendarmerie Brigade of Maroua after having been detained ten days in the premises of the Rapid Intervention Battalion (Bataillon d’Intervention Rapide, BIR) n°3 of Maroua, during which he would have been subjected to acts of torture and ill-treatment. He would have been blindfolded all time, except when eating. He would have been regularly beaten by several individuals, including during his meals, and would have been subjected to the “balançoire”, form of torture which consists in hanging the victim from a rod with his hands tied behind his back.

At the time of issuing this appeal, Mr. Bouba Ousmanou would still not have been presented before a judge and the reasons of his arrest and detention remain unknown.

Furthermore, the whereabouts of Mr. Abdoulaye Abakar, Mr. Issa Ousmanou, Mr. Aboulaye Bouba and Mr. Hamadou Oumarou remain unknown and no information is available with regard to their fate.

The International Secretariat of OMCT expresses its deep concern about the acts of torture and ill-treatment suffered by Mr. Bouba Ousmanou and is particularly concerned for Mr. Adboulaye Abakar, Mr. Issa Ousmanou, Mr. Aboulaye Bouba and Mr. Hamadou Oumarou, who remain disappeared and who may risk similar acts. OMCT urges the authorities of Cameroon to immediately locate their whereabouts and guarantee at all times their psychological and physical integrity. OMCT recalls that Cameroon is a State party to the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment which prohibits cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. In line with their obligations under this treaty, it is incumbent on the Cameroon’s authorities to consider seriously any allegations of torture and ill-treatment, and to undertake a thorough and impartial investigation in this regard. Furthermore, OMCT urges the authorities of Cameroon to guarantee in all circumstances the liberty of their citizens in conformity with article 9.1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Cameroon is a State party, which stipulates that “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention”, as well as to article 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, ratified by Cameroon, which stipulates that “every individual shall have the right to liberty and to the security of his person. No one may be deprived of his freedom except for reasons and conditions previously laid down by law. In particular, no one may one may be arbitrarily arrested or detained”.

Reminder of the situation

OMCT had been informed about a series of enforced disappearances in Maroua, in the Extreme North Province, since December 2007, allegedly by members of the antigang of Rapid Intervention Battalion (Bataillon d’Intervention Rapide, BIR).

The five individuals, who have reportedly disappeared, are:

Mr. Abdoulaye Abakar, who was abducted, on 23 December 2007 around 8:00 p.m., by unidentified individuals claiming to be members of the antigang of BIR in front of his wife and children, in the area of Domayo;

Mr. Issa Ousmanou and Mr. Aboulaye Bouba, who were also abducted at their respective homes, on 23 December 2007, by unidentified individuals as well claiming to be members of the antigang of BIR;

Mr. Hamadou Oumarou, who was forced to follow two individuals dressed in plain clothes in presence of his wife and child. The individuals came to his house on 8 March 2008 around 2:00 p.m. These individuals reportedly came back a few hours later to request money for the victim; they reportedly said that Mr. Oumarou had been arrested by members of the antigang of BIR and would be detained in Salak. His wife reportedly paid the requested sum and went the next day with her sister to look for her husband, but she reportedly did not receive any information as to his whereabouts.

Mr. Bouba Ousmanou, who was abducted at his parents’ home, on 29 March 2008, in the area of Kongoré. He was reportedly seen, on 30 March 2008, accompanied by six men dressed in plain clothes, of which two were in a car (a grey Toyota starlet without licence plate) and two other on a motorcycle. A witness would have recognised one of the individuals as a member of the army. This latter would have later told Mr. Ousmanou’s family that Mr. Ousmanou had been arrested following instructions issued at Garoua (to this date, we do not have further information as to the detail of these instructions) but that he would not know where Mr. Ousmanou is detained.

According to the same information, the MDDHL had already denounced before the relevant authorities, notably the Governor of the Extreme North Province, these disappearances but did not get any response[1].

Action requested

Please write to the authorities in Cameroon urging them to:

  1. Take all necessary measures to locate the whereabouts of Mr. Adboulaye Abakar, Mr. Issa Ousmanou, Mr. Aboulaye Bouba and Mr. Hamadou Oumarou;
  2. Guarantee at all times their physical and psychological integrity as well as of Mr. Bouba Ousmanou and guarantee him immediate access to appropriate and free medical treatment;
  3. Order their immediate release in the absence of valid legal charges that are consistent with international law and standards, or, if such charges exist, bring them before an impartial and competent tribunal and guarantee their procedural rights at all times;
  4. Guarantee access to their families and lawyers;
  5. Order a thorough and impartial investigation into these events, in particular into the allegations of torture and ill-torture suffered by Mr. Bouba Ousmanou, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them to trial and apply the penal and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law;
  6. Guarantee adequate compensation to the victims;
  7. Ensure the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.


  • Mr. Paul Biya, President of the Republic, Presidency of the Republic, Palais de l’Unité, 1000 Yaoundé, Cameroon, Fax +237 22 22 08 70
  • Mr. Amadou Ali, Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Justice, Ministry of Justice, 1000 Yaoundé‚ Cameroon, Fax: + 237 22 23 00 05
  • Mr. Rémy Ze Meka, Minister of Defence, Ministry of Defence, 1000 Yaoundé‚ Cameroon, Fax +237 22 23 59 71
  • Mr. Jean Baptiste BOKAM, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Defence in charge of the National Gendarmerie, 1000 Yaoundé‚ Cameroon, Fax +237 222 39 98
  • Mr. Alain Edgar Mebe Ngo’o, General Delegate at the National Security, Fax: +237 22 21 00 69
  • Mr. Marafa Hamidou YAYA, Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, Fax: + 237 22 22 37 35
  • Dr. Chemuta Divine Banda, President of the National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms Tel: +237 22 22 61 17, Fax: +237 22 22 60 82, E-mail:
  • Mr. Ahmadou TIDJANI, Governor of the Extreme North Province, Tel: +237 22 29 14 61 / +237 22 29 22 03
  • Ambassador, M. Jean Simplice Ndjemba Endezoumou, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Cameroon to the United Nations Office in Geneva, rue du Nant 6, 1207 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax : + 41 22 736 21 65

Please also write to the embassies of Cameroon in your respective country.

Geneva, 15 April 2008

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

[1] The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) has been informed about the death threats faced by the president of MDDHL, Mr. Abdoulaye Math, after the MDDHL had denounced these cases (see OBS CMR 001 / 0408 / OBS 047 issued 03/04/08).

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