YAOUNDÉ (AFP) – Seven people were killed on Sunday when Boko Haram militants launched an assault in northern Cameroon, a Cameroonian security source said.
“Boko Haram killed a (Cameroonian) soldier. Our soldiers killed six of their guys” and “captured” two others near the Nigerian border, the source told AFP on Monday, requesting anonymity.
A local Cameroonian NGO confirmed the assault and said there were “victims” without specifying the number.
“On Sunday, Boko Haram Islamists entered Cameroon… there was a clash between them and the soldiers,” said Mey Aly, from rights group Os-Civil Droits de l’Homme.
“Around 30 heavily armed Boko Haram soldiers crept discretely into Cameroon. A villager saw them and raised the alarm,” she added.
Soldiers blocked their path and a firefight broke out. Cameroon’s rapid reaction force sped to the area.
“The region’s populations have been terrorised by incursions from Islamists like Sunday’s. We call on stronger efforts from the authorities to reassure the population,” she added.
Earlier Monday, an official said that suspected Islamist insurgents had killed 29 people in Nigeria’s embattled northeast on Sunday, the latest carnage in a surge of violence that has left more than 100 dead this month alone.
The Nigerian military has launched a major offensive aimed at crushing the Islamist uprising, which has killed thousands since 2009.
On Wednesday, Nigeria’s Information Minister Labaran Maku said that much of his country’s problem with Boko Haram stemmed from its border with Cameroon and called for “increased partnership” from its northern neighbour.
Nigeria has alleged that the Islamists have set up bases in sparsely populated areas of its northeastern neighbours, including Cameroon, Chad and Niger, and flee across the border after staging attacks to avoid military pursuit.
“They strike. When we pursue them, they retreat into Cameroon,” complained the minister.