US cutting aid to Cameroon over human rights abuse allegations

US cutting aid to Cameroon over human rights abuse allegations
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The Trump administration is reportedly cutting foreign aid to Cameroon over concerns about the government's record of alleged human rights abuses.

A State Department official told The Hill on Wednesday that the U.S. will stop sending around $17 million in security aid to Cameroon's government, which Cameroon's military had put to use against armed militant groups such as Boko Haram.

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"We continue to urge the Cameroonian government to take all credible allegations of gross violations of human rights seriously, investigate those allegations thoroughly, hold accountable the perpetrators of such abuses, and disclose the outcome of the investigations to the people of Cameroon," a State Department official said.

The Trump administration "recognize[s] the great cooperation we have had in the fight against Boko Haram and in restoring maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea," added the official but that further reductions in aid to Cameroon could occur if the government does not address the issues.

"For the time being, other programs will continue. We do not take these measures lightly, but we will not shirk from reducing assistance further if evolving conditions require it," the official said.

The decision to cut aid to Cameroon comes after the Trump administration's ambassador to the country accused pro-government forces of "targeted killings, detentions without access to legal support, family, or the Red Cross, and burning and looting of villages," according to CNN.

An Amnesty International report detailing human rights abuses in Cameroon states that both Boko Haram and pro-government security forces have committed widespread abuses, including torture.

"The armed group Boko Haram continued to commit serious human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law in the Far North region, including looting and destroying properties and killing and abducting civilians," Amnesty's report reads.

"In response, the authorities and security forces committed human rights violations and crimes under international law, including arbitrary arrests, incommunicado detentions, torture and deaths in custody."

This article was updated at 5:00 p.m.