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Some Bakassi internally displaced
persons in Cross River State have alleged massive arrests and extortions of
their kinsmen by Cameroonian gendarmes.

They alleged that at least 40
persons were arrested in one week by the gendarmes along the Nigerian waterways
and taken to a camp in Abana, which had been ceded to Cameroon, from where they
were compelled to pay a minimum of N25, 000 to secure their release.

National Coordinator of Bakassi
Returnees, Mr. Aston Inyang, who disclosed this 
to journalist on Friday, said those caught were arrested while fishing
along the waterways.

He alleged that two unidentified
fishermen were brutalised, murdered and thrown into the water by the gendarmes
for trying to resist arrest.

Inyang said, “We are being haunted
by the Cameroonian gendarmes. They are stopping us from fishing along our own
waterways. They are taking our fishermen to their detention camp in Abana. They
arrest an average of 10 persons every day. This arrest started a month ago.

“When they get to the camp, they
brutalise them and extort money from them. Each person is asked to pay a
minimum of N25, 000 before he is released. They normally ask them to get in
touch with their relations to bring the money. 
They recently brutalised and killed two fishermen who resisted arrest.
This is becoming a serious worry for us.”

When contacted, Army Public
Relations Officer in charge of 13 Brigade, Calabar, Capt. Kayode Owolabi, said
he was not aware of the development.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Bakassi
returnees have remained unsettled since 2009 in different unhygienic camps
around Bakassi and Akpabuyo local government areas of Cross River State.

Inyang alleged that the Cross River
State Government was playing politics with the proper resettlement of the
displaced persons.

He appealed to President Muhammadu
Buhari to personally look into the plight of the displaced persons and come up
with workable resettlement plan.

“We are appealing to the Federal
Government to intervene and handle the situation of the displaced Bakassi
returnees. They should not leave it with the state government as over the
years, we have noticed that the state had been playing politics with the
resettlement plan and that is frustrating,” Inyang alleged.

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