A military court in Cameroon has sentenced 89 members of Islamist
militant outfit Boko Haram to death after they were found guilty of
terrorism. They are among 850 people detained by the country over
alleged ties to Boko Haram’s insurgency in Cameroon.
In 2014, Yaounde passed an anti-terrorism law permitting the death
penalty. These executions will be the first since the measure was
“The court sentenced 89 Boko Haram militants on 16 March,” a judge
told Anadolu news agency on condition of anonymity. The convicts will
not have the right to appeal and the judge confirmed that the “verdict
was final”, drawing criticism from human rights groups who urged
Cameroon to rethink its justice system.
The judge added: “Nearly 1,000 Boko Haram suspects are still awaiting trial.”
The decision was welcomed by locals. “I’m glad justice has been
served, we support the court’s decision because what they are doing is
against Islam,” one resident told the BBC’s Hausa service.
Cameron is part of an 8,700-strong regional task force – which
includes Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Benin – committed to fighting the
terrorist organisation. Since Boko Haram launched its military
operations in 2009, it has unleashed a wave of terror, killing some
20,000 people and displacing 2.5 million others.
The group – which pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State (Isis)
in March 2015 as Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) – was
named as the deadliest terror organisation in the world in last year’s
Global Terrorism Index.
More than 1,100 civilians and security force personnel have been
killed in northern Cameroon in attacks blamed on Boko Haram. The country
has seen a spate of suicide bombings in recent months, with Minister of
Communication Issa Tchiroma Bakary saying that 15 explosions have taken
place since the beginning of the year.
On 16 March, 20 Boko Haram fighters were killed by Cameroonian
soldiers during a raid in northern Nigeria aimed at wiping out the
group. During the operation in the town of Djibrila, about 10km (six
miles) from the border with Cameroon, 12 hostages were rescued and
weapons and armored vehicles were seized.