Reports of the murder of 97 Nigerian fishermen fabricated, Cameroon delegation in Nigeria says

Cameroon has since denied reports that 97 Nigerian fishermen were killed by its gendarmes in Bakassi peninsula, also downplaying the maltreatment of Nigerian refugees in the country.

A 3-man delegation led by Cameroon Foreign Affairs Minister, Joseph Ngute, stated this on Thursday in Abuja, after a meeting with Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama.

Ngute said the delegation was in Nigeria to address issues that would benefit both countries.

He said the reports of the killings were not true, that Cameroon is a law abiding country and no such thing would ever happen.

[Read Also: Killing of Nigerians in Bakassi cannot be confirmed | Army, Police, others say]

On the reported killing of over 97 Nigerians, the minister said nobody was killed, noting that it was a fabrication which appeared in the media, which nobody knew its purpose.

“We are here to inform the government of Nigeria that a month ago, we had reported in the media concerning the massacre of people in the Bakassi area.

“We sent our administrators and we asked Nigerian Counsel in Bua to accompany them. They went there and realised that not a single person was touched and nobody was injured or killed,” he said.

The minister said that the team came to discuss the situation that afflicted North Western part of Cameroon and North-Eastern part of Nigeria concerning the fight against Boko Haram.

He also denied the report that his country maltreated Nigerian refugees, saying that they had protested to UN human right commission on the issue.

“You know being a refugee is a very difficult condition. We in Cameroon are very sensitive to the issue.

“If you visit our camp where we have about 60,000 refugees, they are being given the most humane treatment that we in Cameroon can give and can afford along with the UNHCR.

“We were a bit surprised by that report and we take exception to it. We drew the attention of the UNHCR that in Cameroon we have been abiding by the law,” he said.

Ngute also briefed Nigeria on other issues of interest, especially in the English-speaking part of Cameroon, including resolving the industrial action by the trade union in the area.

Onyeama in his remarks said there was no distrust between the two countries.

“On the contrary both countries are extremely close, working together very closely and I think sending this delegation by the president himself shows the importance he attaches to that relationship.

“We are also keen that this should trickle down to average Nigerian and Cameroonian. And I think, by and large, it does.

“However, we also have to be careful of social media where you can have a very small minority of people generating a narrative that is not in any way reflective of the reality,” he said.

Onyeama noted with pleasure the recent cooperation between both countries in the fight to reclaim territories under Boko Haram in the North East.

He said that Cameroon had been fighting shoulder to shoulder with Nigerian soldiers against Boko Haram.

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