A military court in Cameroon has sentenced 89 members of Islamist militant outfit Boko Haram to death after they were found guilty of terrorism. They are among 850 people detained by the country over alleged ties to Boko Haram's insurgency in Cameroon.
In 2014, Yaounde passed an anti-terrorism law permitting the death penalty. These executions will be the first since the measure was introduced.
"The court sentenced 89 Boko Haram militants on 16 March," a judge told Anadolu news agency on condition of anonymity. The convicts will not have the right to appeal and the judge confirmed that the "verdict was final", drawing criticism from human rights groups who urged Cameroon to rethink its justice system.
The judge added: "Nearly 1,000 Boko Haram suspects are still awaiting trial."
The decision was welcomed by locals. "I'm glad justice has been served, we support the court's decision because what they are doing is against Islam," one resident told the BBC's Hausa service.
Cameron is part of an 8,700-strong regional task force – which includes Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Benin – committed to fighting the terrorist organisation. Since Boko Haram launched its military operations in 2009, it has unleashed a wave of terror, killing some 20,000 people and displacing 2.5 million others.
The group – which pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State (Isis) in March 2015 as Islamic State's West Africa Province (ISWAP) – was named as the deadliest terror organisation in the world in last year's Global Terrorism Index.
More than 1,100 civilians and security force personnel have been killed in northern Cameroon in attacks blamed on Boko Haram. The country has seen a spate of suicide bombings in recent months, with Minister of Communication Issa Tchiroma Bakary saying that 15 explosions have taken place since the beginning of the year.
On 16 March, 20 Boko Haram fighters were killed by Cameroonian soldiers during a raid in northern Nigeria aimed at wiping out the group. During the operation in the town of Djibrila, about 10km (six miles) from the border with Cameroon, 12 hostages were rescued and weapons and armored vehicles were seized.