Cameroon is redoubling efforts to end violence carried out on its territory by the Nigeria-based Islamist militant group Boko Haram. The move comes after militants reportedly forced Nigerian troops to cross the border into the Central African nation, according to information minister Issa Tchiroma.
Tchiroma said military collaboration between the two neighboring countries remains strong despite Cameroon’s decision to close all of its borders with Nigeria due to the ongoing Ebola outbreak.
“Whenever we have information regarding this [Boko Haram] problem, we share information,” said Tchiroma. "Cameroon soldiers have instructions to defend our borders. So they will fight for as long as they are assaulted by Boko Haram to protect our borders.”
About 700 Nigerian troops reportedly crossed into Cameroon following heavy clashes with Boko Haram militants.
“Indeed they crossed the border and they wanted us to give them the support they need," said Tchiroma. "We welcomed them given the fact that we are in close relation with Nigeria, and we facilitated their temporary stay in our country, and they were taken back to their own nation.”
Tchiroma says the government in Yaoundé helped the Nigerian soldiers to safely return home.
He said Cameroon closed its border with Nigeria in a bid to protect citizens from Ebola and dismissed suggestions that the military cooperation between the two countries could be derailed due to the closing.
“We have decided not to spare any effort in order to contain the aggression and to push [Boko Haram] back to keep them out of our nation,” said Tchiroma.
He said the country is grateful for the pledge of international support to help Cameroon combat the security threat posed by Boko Haram militants.
“Many other nations have promised to give us the assistance including The United States, European Union, France, China, [and] United Kingdom, have promised to give us the necessary support in terms of information, and any kind of necessary collaboration,” Tchiroma said.