Cameroon says 25 Boko Haram suspects died in custody late last year but denies its army carried out regular human rights abuses as part of a crackdown on the Nigerian Islamic extremist group.

Information Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary said in a press conference Friday evening that a senior military official had been sacked over the deaths in December. He declined to name the official.

But he denied allegations from local activists that the army was carrying out mass executions and other abuses as it attempts to drive Boko Haram from border regions with Nigeria.

Cameroon was repeatedly targeted by Boko Haram before the country signed up to participate in a multinational force that has dislodged the group from a score of northeastern Nigerian towns in recent weeks.