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Military Deployed as Boko Haram Scare Grips Cameroon

Northern Cameroon

Northern Cameroon

Cameroonians are learning to cope with the many security checks in their country after the government deployed its military to all major towns to conduct searches of people, goods, shops and houses as a fear of Boko Haram terrorism grips the country.

As a soldier gives orders at the main train station in Yaounde, travelers are being asked to line up and pass through metal detectors before having access to the train for the first time. Soldier Susan Ngam said Cameroon's government deployed them in response to four Boko Haram suicide bombings that occurred in northern Cameroon last month.

"Here we search everybody. We search the customers, we search the employers. And also among us, our colleagues that work in the night search our bags and we also search them when we are going out because of this problem of Boko Haram that we have in hand," said Ngam.

Businessman Emmanuel Ngufor, who is travelling to northern Cameroon, said although the checks have led to delays, he supports the initiative.

"It is for our security. We can never tell judging from the looks of people. It may be inconveniencing but in as much as we know that it is for our good, it is worth it," said Ngufor.

Last month about 60 Cameroonians were killed in the central African nation's north, in the area near the border with Nigeria's Borno state, a stronghold of Boko Haram. The insurgents used teenage female suicide bombers in the four attacks.

Bernard Okalia Bilai, governor of south western Cameroon, said that although the attacks were in the north, the government of Cameroon has increased checks all over the country.

"In the church, in the market, if you suspect a face, don't hesitate to ask the man who he is without any provocation, without any threat, without any violence. Say please sir, may I know who you are? I am Mr X. It may bring some disturbances within the population but it is the price to pay," said Bilai.

Cameroon's Defense Minister Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo'o said he has also instructed business persons, schools and churches to recruit private security agents.

He said security forces have been working hard, but they need the support of every Cameroonian. He called for all Cameroonians to contribute to the fight against Boko Haram until it is totally eliminated from Cameroon. He said Cameroon can only develop into an emerging economy when there is peace.

Boko Haram, which was founded in northern neighboring Nigeria, has vowed to attack Cameroon because the country has supported the Nigerian military's mission to defeat the group.