Nigeria violated international law by forcing 47 people to return to neighboring Cameroon, which has deployed the army to quell a secessionist movement in its English-speaking regions, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency.
Most of the Cameroonians, who were flown back from Nigeria and handed to the government on Jan. 26, had submitted asylum claims, the agency said in an emailed statement Thursday. Their extradition “is in violation of the principle of non-refoulement, which constitutes the cornerstone of international refugee law,” it said.
Cameroon’s government said on Tuesday it had imprisoned the 11 leaders of the secessionist movement after Nigerian authorities had put them on a plane in the capital, Abuja, in line with an international arrest warrant issued by Cameroon. A total of 47 Cameroonians, considered terrorists by the government, were deported, according to Communications Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary.