Date: Mon, 1 Dec 97 14:24:48 CST
From: Ray Mitchell <RMITCHEL%AI-UK%amnesty.org.uk@WUVMD.Wustl.Edu>
Subject: AI: Cameroon / Chad bulletin
Amnesty International is seriously concerned that two Chadian nationals, and possibly a third, are at risk of imminent forcible return from Cameroon to Chad where they could face torture and extrajudicial execution.
Michel Nguimbaye Barde and Alamine Guirgue, prominent members of the Forces armees pour la Republique federale (FARF), Armed Forces for the Federal Republic, a former Chadian armed opposition group, were arrested on 17 November 1997 at the village of Afade, close to the border of Chad, near Kousseri, in Logone Chari Division in the Far-North Province of Cameroon. They were taken first to Kousseri and subsequently to the Cameroonian capital, Yaounde, where they are being held at a police station. They are not known to have been charged with any offence. Some reports refer to a third member of the FARF also being arrested at the same time.
Following confrontations between Chadian security forces and members
of the former FARF in Moundou, Logone Occidental, in southern Chad on
30 October 1997, during which at least two soldiers and 40 FARF
members were killed, members of the security forces extrajudicially
executed or arrested and then tortured and ill-treated many unarmed
civilians whom they suspected of being members or supporters of the
FARF in both Logone Occidental and Logone Oriental. More than 40
unarmed civilians were killed, others remain
Members of the family of Desire Laonoji, Executive Secretary of the
FARF, were all extrajudicially executed (see EXTRA 151/97, 4 November
1997, AFR 20/12/97). Many civilians have fled Logone Occidental and
Logone Oriental to other parts of the country or to neighbouring
Arrests of FARF members also took place in the Chadian capital, N'Djamena, following these events and four FARF members remain in detention in N'Djamena. They are reported to have been tortured.
On 18 April 1997, a peace accord was signed by the Chadian Government and the FARF which provided for, among other things, integration of members of the FARF into the Chadian national army and the civil service, a general amnesty for all FARF members and supporters and a renunciation of armed struggle by the FARF which would become a political party. In 1995 and 1996 there were many counter-insurgency operations in Logone Occidental and Logone Oriental where the FARF was active. Real and suspected members of the FARF were victims of human rights violations, including arbitrary arrest and torture. The FARF also committed human rights abuses against unarmed civilians, including deliberate and arbitrary killings, torture and ill-treatment.
All countries should respect their commitments under international
refugee law, including the United Nations Convention relating to the
Status of Refugees and the Organization of African Unity (OAU)
Convention governing the specific aspects of refugee problems in
Africa, to allow all asylum-seekers to their territory, to provide
adequate protection and to respect the principle of non-refoulement.
The OAU Convention, to which Cameroon is a party, states that
person shall be subjected by a Member State to measures such as
rejection at the frontier, return or expulsion, which would compel him
to return to ... a territory where his life, physical integrity or
liberty would be threatened....