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Cameroon
04.04.08
Urgent Interventions

Series of enforced disappearances in Extreme North Province

Case CMR 040408_ENG
Enforced disappearances/ Fear for personal safety

The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Cameroon.

Brief description of the situation

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, 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 has already denounced before the relevant authorities, notably the Governor of the Extreme North Province, these disappearances but has not received any response yet[1]. The motives of these abductions and the whereabouts of these individuals remain till this date unknown.

The International Secretariat of OMCT expresses its deep concern about the enforced disappearances of Mr. Adboulaye Abakar, Mr. Issa Ousmanou, Mr. Aboulaye Bouba, Mr. Hamadou Oumarou and Mr. Bouba Ousmanou and about the risks of torture and ill-treatments they face due to their situation. 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. 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”.

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, Mr. Hamadou Oumarou and Mr. Bouba Ousmanou and guarantee at all times their physical and psychological integrity;
  2. 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;
  3. Order a thorough and impartial investigation into these events, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them to trial and apply the penal and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law;
  4. Ensure the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.

Addresses

  • Mr. Paul Biya, President of the Republic, Presidency of the Republic, Palais de l’Unité, 1000 Yaoundé, Cameroon, Fax +237 222 08 70
  • Mr. Amadou Ali, Minister of Justice, Ministry of Justice, 1000 Yaoundé‚ Cameroon, Fax: + 237 223 00 05
  • Mr. Rémy Ze Meka, Minister of Defence, 1000 Yaoundé‚ Cameroon, Fax +237 223 59 71
  • Mr. Jean Marie Aleokol, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Defence in charge of the National Gendarmerie, Fax +237 222 39 98
  • Mr. Alain Edgard Mebe Ngo’o, General Delegate at the National Security, Fax +237 221 00 69
  • Mr. Marafa Hamidou Yaya, Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, Fax: + 237 222 37 35
  • Dr. Chemuta Divine Banda, President of the National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms, Tel: +237 222 61 17, Fax: +237 222 60 82, E-mail: cndhl@iccnet.cm
  • Mr. Ahmadou Tidjani, Governor of the Extreme North Province, Tel: +237 229 14 61 / +237 229 22 03
  • General Attorney of the Extreme North Province, Tel: +237 229 33 03
  • Ambassador, Mr. 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, 04 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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