Cameroon: Thousands Left Homeless as Boko Haram Launches Large-Scale Attacks on Border Villages

Cameroon: Thousands Left Homeless as Boko Haram Launches Large-Scale Attacks on Border Villages

Cameroon’s northern border with Nigeria has been a site of turmoil in recent days, as officials report large-scale attacks by Boko Haram militants that have resulted in the destruction of hundreds of homes, the deaths of at least six villagers and two soldiers, and the displacement of thousands of people. According to the Cameroon government, a retaliatory operation was carried out on Wednesday morning, resulting in the deaths of at least 12 militants.

These deadly attacks have been concentrated in Cameroon’s Mayo-Moskota district, which shares a border with Nigeria’s Borno state. Officials state that hundreds of Boko Haram fighters have been involved in the violence over the past five days. Six civilians and two government troops were killed in the attacks, with militants making off with two military jeeps and some ammunition.

Guedjeo Salomon, who oversees agriculture in Mayo-Moskota, told VOA that the militants looted markets, ranches, farms, and shops, forcing villagers to flee in search of safety. Thousands of displaced civilians are now hiding in the bush near the border with Nigeria and neighboring towns, such as Mokolo, Moskuta, and Koza. On Monday, militants destroyed nearly 400 shops and houses. According to Salomon, the militants crossed the border back into Nigeria with stolen loot that included around 200 cows, over 250 goats and sheep, and one hundred motorcycles.

Cameroon’s military pursued the militants, pushing them back across the border into Nigeria’s Borno state, where Boko Haram was initially founded. The government reports that at least 12 militants were killed in a military raid on the Cameroon side of the border on Wednesday morning. Although VOA could not independently verify the number of casualties, witnesses confirmed that the attacks involved hundreds of militants.

Midjiyawa Bakari, the governor of Cameroon’s Far North region, communicated with VOA via a messaging app, stating that Cameroon’s military has been deployed to protect civilians on the border with Nigeria who are suffering due to renewed Boko Haram incursions. In addition to combatting the insurgents, troops will provide first aid to wounded civilians and collaborate with local militias, who are familiar with the routes used by the militants to enter Cameroon through the porous border.

Villagers are urging the troops to provide better protection against the militants. On Tuesday, Cameroon’s military announced that the Multinational Joint Task Force of the Lake Chad Basin Commission convened in Mora, a northern border town with Chad and Nigeria. Comprising troops from Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria, the task force discussed strategies to stop the attacks.

In March, Cameroon reported that at least 3,000 people were displaced due to fighting in Nigerian border towns and villages, including Mayo-Moskota. The government has reiterated its call for villagers to report any strangers in their communities and stated that it has remobilized militias to assist troops in the fight against Boko Haram.

Boko Haram’s attacks initially began in Nigeria’s Borno state in 2009 before spreading to neighboring countries, such as Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. The United Nations reports that the Islamist insurgency has resulted in the deaths of over 36,000 people, predominantly in Nigeria, and the displacement of 3 million individuals.

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