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Cameroon's Military Kills 60 Boko Haram Members

Map of Cameroon

Map of Cameroon

Cameroon's state radio reports that the military has killed at least 60 Boko Haram members who crossed over from Nigeria seeking refuge.

According to the national radio, the heavily-armed militants, reportedly killed in the village of Dabanga in far northern Cameroon, crossed over from Borno State in Nigeria. They were then ambushed by Cameroonian soldiers the report said.

Boko Haram

  • Based in the northeastern city of Maiduguri
  • Self-proclaimed leader is Abubakar Shekau
  • Began in 2002 as a nonviolent Islamist splinter group
  • Launched uprising in 2009
  • Has killed tens of thousands since 2010
  • Boko Haram translates to "Western education is sinful"
  • Wants Nigeria to adopt strict Islamic law
Fonka Awah, the governor of the far north region of Cameroon, said his office had received information that some Boko Haram members might be hiding in Cameroonian villages, and asked for specialized troops to be deployed.

He told VOA that the military had done a good job.

"Of course yes, without mincing words, after such a situation you reassemble the forces and map out strategies, you galvanize them and put them back into action and I think that is what we have just done," he said.

Ebenezer Akanga, a journalist who works with Cameroon's national broadcaster, told VOA in a telephone interview that if the military had carried out similar attacks in the past, Boko Haram would not be using Cameroon as a safe haven.
Dabanga, Cameroon

Dabanga, Cameroon

A tougher stance

"The opinion many people have is that from the beginning, the government seemed to have been caressing the Boko Harams, the government did not seem to have been taking this fight very seriously. This is what was expected to be done from the very word 'go.' In fact, if the military had this type of reaction it would have deterred the Boko Harams from crossing to Cameroonian territory," said Akanga, adding that security forces from Cameroon and Nigeria should work together to eliminate Boko Haram from the two countries.

"The military has to adopt different strategies because it does not only suffice chasing away the Boko Harams," he said. "The fight needs to be taken to their backyard. Even if officially there may not be agreements authorizing the Cameroonian military to cross over into Nigerian territory, I personally think that this fight can not be won by fighting the Boko Haram only in the Cameroonian territory. The fight should be taken to their own camp out there in Nigeria."

Last month, Nigeria's neighbors Cameroon and Chad both declared war on Boko Haram. Cameroon has since deployed 2,000 troops along its border with Nigeria.

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