Friday, April 30, 2021

Cameroon Military Says It Pushed Boko Haram Fighters into Nigeria

YAOUNDE, CAMEROON - Cameroon's military said Wednesday its troops pushed back about 80 terrorists from Fotokol, a town on the border with Nigeria.

The statement said the Boko Haram fighters were from the Nigerian town of Wulgo in Borno State.

Cameroon's military said it killed several fighters in clashes this week, but Boko Haram escaped with all but two of the bodies. The military said it destroyed six war jeeps and seized a large arsenal, including machine guns and assault rifles.

The military said Monday's operation was led by troops of the Multinational Joint Task Force of the Lake Chad Basin Commission.

A military spokesperson, Navy Captain Atonfack Guemo Cyrille Serge, said the operation freed several civilians who had been abducted by the militants.

Nineteen-year-old Zumbaisi Babale, who witnessed the abductions, said the fighters took away his elder sister and a man with whom she was seeking refuge in their village church. He said he hid under a bench until the fighters left, then the military took him to their base for protection.

Midjiyawa Bakari, governor of Cameroon's Far North region, said Boko Haram fighters are still lurking near the border, and civilians should report strangers in their towns and villages.

He said via a messaging app from the northern town of Maroua that the military has been mobilized to be alert all along Cameroon's border with Nigeria and Chad. All travelers and their goods will be checked to protect Cameroon's territory from Boko Haram and any rebel group that attempts to penetrate, Bakari added.

Monday's attack came a week after Chad announced the death of its president, Idriss Deby.

Conflict resolution specialist Joseph Vincent Ntouda Ebode of the University of Yaounde said the terrorists may have mobilized thinking that Chad had called back its troops and there were fewer soldiers fighting Boko Haram.

He said the terrorists know that Chad, which contributes a significant number of troops to combat Boko Haram, is now concentrating on stopping its internal security threats. For that reason, he said, Cameroon and Nigeria should remobilize their troops because Boko Haram terrorists will intensify attacks since they are aware that Chad has other priorities.

It is not known if the Transitional Military Council in Chad will be as devoted as Chad's late president in fighting Boko Haram, Ebode added.

There are about 8,000 troops in the multinational joint task force fighting Boko Haram.

The task force has not indicated whether Chad withdrew its troops.

By Moki Edwin Kindzeka


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