Boko Haram clashes with Cameroon soldiers in cross-border attacks
Boko Haram militants have carried out another cross-border attack into Cameroon for the second day running since Friday, killing at least four soldiers.
The Cameroonian army has subsequently sent reinforcements to the area, army sources said yesterday.
Under pressure from Nigeria to do more to counter Islamist insurgents, Cameroon has deployed over 1,000 soldiers along its remote jungle border.
Nigeria believes Boko Haram wants to use Cameroon as a rear base as it strives to carve out an Islamic state.
The terrorists have killed thousands in the last five-years and have recently bombed targets that were previously considered comparatively safe, including Lagos and Abuja.
Cameroonian regional military commander, Colonel Felix Nji Formekong, confirmed to Reuters by telephone that four soldiers had been killed in clashes with Boko Haram fighters at the village of Bargaram, without giving further detail.
A soldier based in the area who requested anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media said another 13 of his comrades were missing after the attack, which took place late on Friday night.
He said that Boko Haram had attacked again in the night from Friday to Saturday but that the Cameroonian army had succeeded in pushing them back.
“We are currently in a real battle front and more of our soldiers have been sent in from Maroua to assist us,” he added, referring to the regional headquarters.
The attack at Bargaram came against the backdrop of the recent Boko Haram attack on the same locality, kidnapping a 20-year old civilian and the handing down of up to 20 years imprisonment to 14 Boko Haram members by a military court in Cameroun.
The country’s state broadcasting station, Crtv, reported yesterday that the culprits who were arrested in March after the discovery of a weapons cache, admitted to being part of the Nigerian extremist group at a “public hearing” in the northern town of Maroua.
They had been charged with the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition and of plotting an insurrection.
“Each of the Boko Haram members (was) sentenced to between 10 and 20 years” in prison, said the report, adding that the sentences cannot be appealed.
The trial is the first of its kind in Cameroon where a large number of members of the sect have been arrested in the north over the past weeks following attacks on police stations, as well as kidnappings and killings.
More than 3,000 Nigerians fleeing Boko Haram attacks have taken refuge in the Cameroon town of Fotokol, according to a municipal official.
“We are worried about infiltrations” by the Islamists among the refugees, a police officer in the town said.
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