Cameroon has sentenced 89 members of the Boko Haram to death, local media reports said Thursday. The members are reportedly among 850 people arrested in the country on charges of links to the Islamic militant group.
The 89 people were convicted on terror charges by a military court for their roles in several attacks in Cameroon's northern region, which borders Nigeria, BBC reported. The militant group, which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in 2015, has been active in Nigeria since 2009 and in 2015 upped its activities across Nigeria’s borders in Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Cameroon is part of a multinational force along with Nigeria and others aimed at combating the group’s spread in West Africa.
The executions will be the first since Cameroon, which has seen several attacks by Boko Haram over the past few years, passed an anti-terror law in 2014 that introduced the death sentence.
According to the BBC, a local human rights group called for reforms to Cameroon's justice system, following the death sentences.
As Cameroon continues its fight to tackle the militants, the military reported in February that it killed more than 150 militants and liberated a Boko Haram stronghold in Goshi town, located in northeastern Nigeria.
Hundreds of people have been killed in a spate of attacks in Cameroon since it joined a regional force set up to tackle the militants last year.
Boko Haram, which aims to establish an ISIS-style government in Nigeria and its bordering countries, released a video published in January 2015, threatening to attack Cameroon and assassinate President Paul Biya unless the country embraced Islam.