YAOUNDE — Cameroon and Chad have sent a thousand troops to their borders with Nigeria to fight the Islamist group Boko Haram. The troops were deployed shortly after leaders from the two countries met in Yaounde and declared war against the violent group.
These are soldiers of Cameroon's rapid intervention battalion singing in excitement as they leave Yaounde, capital of the West African country, for the border with Nigeria. They headed out barely a day after Presidents Idriss Deby of Chad and Paul Biya of Cameroon announced they are waging war on Boko Haram.
Colonel Didier Badjeck, spokesperson of the Cameroon military told VOA that the soldiers will work with the local people to find out who members of the violent group are, since the soldiers are aware they will be fighting an enemy that uses unconventional tactics.
"We have occupied the field so that the response should be more spontaneous. I want to say that we need total collaboration from the public. This will encourage us in the field to know exactly that people are thinking about us and are supporting their defense forces. We specially await information from the population," said Badjeck.
Before the soldiers left, Cameroon's defense minister, Edgard Allain Mebe Ngo'o met with Chad's minister of national defense, Benaindo Tatola, in Yaounde. Ngo'o said Chad had also deployed troops to work together with Cameroonian forces on the borders with Nigeria. He also said troops from the two countries will cross into Nigeria and fight Boko Haram in collaboration with Nigerian forces.
Nigeria has often accused Cameroon of not doing enough to fight Boko Haram even though the terrorist group frequently crosses into Cameroonian territory. Cameroon has been attacked several times by Boko Haram.
Earlier this month, rebels from the violent group attacked a military post in Kousseri, Far North, Cameroon and freed one of their members being held there. They also attacked the locality of Waza in North Cameroon and stole 12 vehicles, kidnapped 10 Chinese workers and killed a Cameroonian soldier.