Societal perceptions of counterterrorism in Cameroon: The voices of those far from the battlefield

Maxwell Peprah Opoku, William Nketsia, Oyewole Simon Oginni, Beatrice Atim Alupo, Bernard Nsaidzedze Saka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The extant literature has reported on human rights violations perpetrated by state security systems against citizens during counterterrorism efforts. This has contributed to discussions on effective strategies to protect human life and property in the wake of terrorist attacks from insurgent groups such as Boko Haram. It is widely recommended that states adopt a combination of strategies to combat terrorism. However, in the African context, there have been few explorations of the nature and effectiveness of counterterrorism strategies adopted by states. Drawing on a multifaceted approach to fighting terrorism as the framework of analysis, this qualitative study explores people’s perceptions of the effectiveness of counterterrorism efforts and their human rights implications in Cameroon in the wake of attacks from Boko Haram. One-on-one interviews were conducted with 51 participants recruited from Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon. The participants mentioned that security measures instituted by the state have had adverse impacts on their fundamental human rights. The human rights violations are manifested in several ways, including extortion, unlawful arrest, and restrictions on movement. Study limitations, recommendations for future research, and the need for the Cameroon government to create economic opportunities and involve citizens in the fight against terrorism are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-237
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Human Rights
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 14 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Law


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