Cameroon military tortures innocent children as ‘anti-terrorism’


This video says about itself:

Cameroon’s Secret Torture Chambers: Fotokol

19 July 2017

Amnesty International has collected evidence of over a hundred cases of illegal detention, torture, and extrajudicial killing of Cameroonian citizens falsely accused of supporting or being a member of Boko Haram, at around twenty sites across the country.

Using testimony and information supplied by Amnesty International, Forensic Architecture reconstructed two of these facilities – a regional military headquarters and an occupied school – in order to confirm and illustrate the conditions of incarceration and torture described by former detainees.

Read more here.

From Amnesty International:

Cameroon: Amnesty report reveals war crimes in fight against Boko Haram, including horrific use of torture
20 July 2017, 00:01 UTC

• Detainees subjected to severe beatings, agonising stress positions and drownings, with some tortured to death

• Widespread torture at 20 sites, including four military bases, two facilities run by intelligence services, a private residence and a school

• Calls for US and other international partners to investigate their military personnel’s possible knowledge of torture at one base

Hundreds of people in Cameroon accused of supporting Boko Haram, often without evidence, are being brutally tortured by security forces, Amnesty International said in a new report published today.

Using dozens of testimonies, corroborated with satellite imagery, photographic and video evidence, the report ‘Cameroon’s secret torture chambers: human rights violations and war crimes in the fight against Boko Haram’ documents 101 cases of incommunicado detention and torture between 2013 and 2017, at over 20 different sites.

“We have repeatedly and unequivocally condemned the atrocities and war crimes committed by Boko Haram in Cameroon. But, nothing could justify the callous and widespread practice of torture committed by the security forces against ordinary Cameroonians, who are often arrested without any evidence and forced to endure unimaginable pain,” said Alioune Tine, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa.

“These horrific violations amount to war crimes. Given the weight of the evidence we have uncovered, the authorities must initiate independent investigations into these practices of incommunicado detention and torture, including potential individual and command responsibility.”

Amnesty International wrote to the Cameroonian authorities in April 2017 to share the report’s findings, but no response was provided and all subsequent requests for meetings were refused …

The report also highlights the presence of US and French military personnel at the BIR base in Salak, and calls for these governments to investigate the extent to which their personnel stationed at Salak, or regularly visiting, may have been aware that illegal detention and torture was taking place on site.

Amnesty International delegates have directly observed French soldiers during one visit there, while more than a dozen former detainees held there between 2015 and 2016 said they saw and heard white, English-speaking men at the base, including some in military uniform. This has been confirmed by photographic and video evidence showing uniformed US personnel, some of whom are stationed there.

“Given the frequent and possibly prolonged presence of their military personnel, the US government and other international partners should investigate the degree to which their personnel were aware of illegal detention and torture at the Salak base, and whether they took any measures to report it to their hierarchy and the Cameroonian authorities,” said Alioune Tine.

Amnesty International wrote to the US and French Embassies in Cameroon on 23 June 2017, requesting further information about what their personnel knew and what was reported. The US Embassy responded on 11 July and their letter can be found in the report. No response was received from the French Embassy.

Cameroonian troops tortured and killed prisoners at base used for U.S. drone surveillance: here.

World Pangolin Day today


World Pangolin Day demonstrators in Cameroon

This photo shows World Pangolin Day demonstrators in Cameroon, Africa, today.

Here are 6 amazing pangolin facts you (probably) didn’t know.

Gorilla conservation in Cameroon


This video says about itself:

16 December 2009

This clip is the first professional video of the elusive and highly endangered Cross River gorilla. It is the world’s rarest great ape, numbering fewer than 300 individuals along the border of Nigeria and Cameroon.

From Wildlife Extra:

Gorillas benefit from new protection in Cameroon

Critically endangered Cross River Gorillas will be receiving much-needed additional protection in Cameroon with the creation of Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in the southwest of the country.

The decree to officially create the sanctuary was signed by the Prime Minister of Cameroon, and will be the third such reserve in the country to protect the dwindling habitat of the Cross River Gorilla.

The gorillas in this region were only discovered relatively recently in the early 20th century, but following the Nigerian conflict during the 1960s it was feared that they had become a casualty of war and had become extinct. It was only during the 1980s that small groups of the Cross River Gorilla were rediscovered.

But their numbers in the wild have remained low in spite of conservation efforts. Living in the region of the Cross River, which flows from Cameroon to Nigeria and passes through rainforest, their habitat has become restricted to rugged highland areas where hunting pressure is lower.

Furthermore, the great apes’ habitat is surrounded by some of Africa’s most densely populated human settlements, and is become increasingly fragmented.

In order to tackle these threats to the gorilla, two reserves were set up by the Cameroon Government: the Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary and Takamanda National Park. The addition of Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary marks a further move in the right direction for the protection of the Cross River Gorilla.

Prior to the decree to create the sanctuary, the forest was under communal forest laws, which allowed land to be converted for use for anything other than forestry. Organisation Flora and Fauna International have been working toward the protection of the gorillas in the forest since 2004, and understand that the creation of Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary will impact upon local communities, so will be involving them in the sanctuary design and helping them to find sustainable ways to earn a living.

Blind African refugee beaten up in Britain


This video from England says about itself:

Who killed Jimmy Mubenga? Protest outside G4S AGM, London 6 June 2013

By Ryan Fletcher in Britain:

Friday 11th April 2014

A disabled asylum-seeker told the Star yesterday that he was beaten by staff tasked to deliver him to Heathrow airport for deportation.

Alain Kouayep Tchatchue was delivered to Heathrow early on Saturday from nearby Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre.

Visually impaired Mr Tchatchue claimed that when he refused to board a flight to Cameroon, from which he fled because he is bisexual, he was attacked.

He alleged that the two staff responsible for taking him to the airport dragged him back to the transportation van, punched him repeatedly in the ribs and then left him in the van for over three hours with his hands and feet tied.

Mr Tchatchue claimed that the two staff told him “they were just doing their job.”

Speaking to the Star from the detention centre yesterday, he said: “I couldn’t see properly and was screaming ‘please help me.’

“They tied my feet together and handcuffed me. I could feel them putting pressure on my neck.

“They untied my feet after three hours but I was handcuffed for over four.”

Eventually Mr Tchatchue was returned to the detention centre after it was decided he was too ill to travel.

He has subsequently put in a complaint to the police, but said he was still suffering with mobility problems in his shoulder for which he has needed painkillers all week.

He told the Star: “I am very scared and upset. Even now I can’t sleep. This is a very difficult time in my life.”

Mr Tchatchue fled Cameroon after having a relationship with a man and said that reports about his sexuality had appeared in the local press there and he would be in danger if he was deported.

Manchester Metropolitan Church pastor Andy Braunston has been campaigning on Mr Tchatchue’s behalf.

He said: “Alain is a blind man who uses a white stick to get around and who has fled here because of fear of the violence of the state in Cameroon.”

The Metropolitan Police and the Home Office were unavailable for comment.

Britain: We musn’t lose the gains made by black workers over the last decade in an austerity-led backlash, says GLORIA MILLS: here.

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African frog research


From QUEST in the USA:

Captive Breeding Program May Ensure Survival for African Frogs

Post by for on Aug 23, 2013

Click PLAY to hear mating calls from Cameroonian frogs in quarantine at Cal Academy: here.

On a recent June evening, herpetologist David Blackburn of the California Academy of Sciences was knee-deep in a west African lake hoping to capture a critically endangered frog.

In the cold, clear water of Cameroon’s Lake Oku, hundreds of brown and gray frogs with webbed feet were paddling around looking for food.

The Lake Oku clawed frog, found nowhere else but in this lake, is like other frogs across the globe that are fighting for survival.

Thousands of frog species worldwide are losing habitat due to deforestation and an amphibian disease caused by a type of fungus called “chytrid fungus.” The fungus grows on the frogs’ skin and causes sloughing skin and extreme lethargy. The changes to the frogs’ skin can be deadly, because frogs absorb water, salts and other nutrients through their skin.

More than a third of the world’s amphibians are threatened with extinction. The disease is a leading cause of frog population declines worldwide.

Researcher Rebecca Tarvin joined Blackburn's team to collect novel data on African frogs' secretions to determine whether they have chemical defenses in their skins

Researcher Rebecca Tarvin joined Blackburn’s team to collect novel data on African frogs’ secretions to determine whether they have chemical defenses in their skins

“Frogs are the canaries in the coal mine,” said Tom Smith, director of the Center for Tropical Research at the University of California – Los Angeles. “They tell us about the health of ecosystems like no other organism. When their populations decline it’s time to pay attention because what is affecting frogs may ultimately affect us.”

As part of an expedition to the mountains of northern Cameroon this summer, Blackburn led a group of students and colleagues to collect the clawed frog and other species.

The researchers hoped the fragile amphibians would survive the 10,000-mile journey back to San Francisco where the team will breed the species in captivity at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park.

By breeding the amphibians and learning about the frogs’ biology and reproduction habits, Blackburn and his team expect to gain key insights that could help save the frogs – and other species like them – in the future.

“We know so little about some of these species,” Blackburn said. “We’d like to figure out what it would take to be able to breed these frogs in captivity should they suddenly become under serious threat in the only place they’re known to occur.”

If an invasive species or predator entered the lake, it would be difficult for scientists to save the frogs because they don’t fully understand their lifecycle and what they need in order to survive.

Blackburn and his team took video of their expedition. As he knelt close to the water and bagged 25 frogs, he said, “the clock started ticking.”

“Once they are out of the lake, we want them back at the Academy in clean and cool water as soon as possible.”

Bamboutos camp

While Blackburn’s team surveyed frogs in the highlands of Cameroon, they camped in the Bamboutos Mountains, a region with several endemic frog species.

In addition to the clawed frog, Blackburn and his colleagues also collected four other species: Riggenbach’s Reed Frog, Bamenda Reed Frog, Rio Benito Long-fingered Frog and the Black Long-fingered Frog.

Three of the species they brought back, including the clawed frogs, are considered threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The tiny frogs, which are roughly the size of a quarter, were fed a diet of fish or termites before they were placed in a box aboard an international flight bound for San Francisco.

“In some cases, we had the frogs for two weeks before we traveled back so we had to feed them in the field,” said Cal Academy Senior Biologist Brian Freiermuth. “One of the things we actually did was use termites; we found nests and could break them open and feed the frogs. Termites are actually really high in fat so it’s good if you want to fatten up an animal.”

After more than 30 hours in transit, 54 of the 56 captured frogs survived and now sit in quarantine at the California Academy of Sciences.

About 60 percent of the frogs tested positive for chytrid fungus, which Blackburn said he expected based on his studies of the same species in 2011.

“It wasn’t a surprise to me to find [the fungus] in the frogs that we brought back,” Blackburn said. “It just reiterates why our work is so important.”

From late August to early September, the frogs will be treated with a fungicide that will work to clear the disease. After that, Blackburn and his team will begin breeding these species as Academy staff build an exhibit in the facility’s aquarium so the public can finally meet the frogs.

“One huge part of our goal was public awareness,” Blackburn said. “We really can’t conserve what we don’t know. I’m excited that we can celebrate biodiversity at the Academy’s aquarium. That diversity is threatened and it’s exactly what we’re hoping to conserve.”