It was rumoured at the time that Cameroon deserted its neighbour Nigeria when its help was most needed.

Of course, Cameroonian authorities denied it, but it has emerged now that indeed, Cameroon’s army forcibly deported at least 100,000 Nigerians.

These are Nigerians who fled an insurgency by Islamist militant group Boko Haram since early 2015.

Some were even subjected to torture, said international rights group, Human Rights Watch, HRW on Wednesday.

The deportations violate international and Cameroonian law and constitute one of the world’s largest recent cases of illegal forced repatriation, the rights group said in a report.

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They could also have intensified one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises by sending people in serious need of aid back to northeast Nigeria.

Cameroon’s minister of communications has declined to comment on HRW’s damning report.

Nigeria is struggling to cope with millions of people dependent on emergency relief for food, shelter and medicine, victims of an eight-year conflict in which at least 20,000 have been killed.

At least 10.7 million people are in need of assistance in the region, mainly in Nigeria but also in Chad, Niger and Cameroon, according to the United Nations.

“Cameroon’s army has been aggressively screening newly arriving Nigerians at the border, subjecting some to torture and other forms of abuse, and containing them in far-flung and under-serviced border villages,” the report said.

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