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Nigeria request ECOWAS to act against Cameroon over force refugee deportations

Nigeria has called for action against Cameroon over reports of forced deportation of at least 4,402 Nigerian refugees in 2017, who had fl...

Nigeria has called for action against Cameroon over reports of forced deportation of at least 4,402 Nigerian refugees in 2017, who had fled the Islamist Boko Haram militants, Africa news reports.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said in a statement on Friday that it is time for the West African regional body ECOWAS and other groups to take an action against its neighbours Cameroon, state broadcaster NTA reported.

“This unfriendly attitude of the Cameroonian soldiers to Nigerian asylum seekers is really worrisome,” she added in response to the details of the report released by Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Wednesday that said the refugees were “forced into trucks like animals”.

Abike Dabiri-Erewa said Cameroon needs to stop breaching international law against the ill treatment of refugees who were reported to have been detained and tortured by Cameroonian soldiers before they were dropped off in neighbouring northeast Nigeria where they are facing attacks by Boko Haram.

HRW said in the report that since early 2015, at least 100,000 refugees were deported and in the first seven and a half months of 2017, 4,402 more were deported including children.

“The forced returns are a flagrant breach of the principle of nonrefoulement, binding on Cameroon under national Cameroonian as well as international law.

The UNHCR said the report was broadly in line with its own understanding of the situation, though it could not confirm all the details in the paper.

Cameroon signed a treaty in March with Nigeria and the UNHCR to ensure that all refugee returns are voluntary but the rights group said Cameroon’s violations had continued.

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