Cameroon’s information minister says President Paul Biya and his counterpart Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan have been communicating as part of a collaborative effort to defeat violent Islamist Boko Haram militants.
Issa Tchiroma says Cameroon will not allow the militants to use its territory to launch attacks on unarmed civilians in neighboring countries after announcing that there is an ongoing intelligence gathering and sharing between Cameroon and Nigeria security agencies to defeat the extremists.
“The two heads of state are talking to each other whenever need be. The ministers of defense in Cameroon and in Nigeria are in close contact. The military in Cameroon and Nigeria are in close contact they are talking to each other they are coordinating their action” said Tchiroma. “I think the climate is favorable, and I can assure you that no stone will be left unturned in the process of fighting and defeating this terrorist group,” he said.
Tchiroma says Cameroon together with Nigeria and other neighboring countries are committed to combat violent terrorist activities carried out by the Boko Haram militants.
“Nigeria and Cameroon are sharing information and with sisters from other friendly countries, I think at the end of the day we shall make it. We will overcome them, it is just a matter of time and for sure we will defeat them,” said Tchiroma.
He says the government in Yaoundé is pleased with assistance from western countries including the United States, and France who have volunteered security experts to help Nigeria to search for the school girls abducted by the extremists as well as combat the group’s violent activities.
There were initial reports that the militants smuggled the abducted girls and crossed the border into villages in Cameroon after kidnapping them about five weeks ago. Tchiroma denied the abducted girls are in Cameroon.
“I have always said that [the abducted girls] are not in Cameroon. But, in case somebody knows where they are located in our nation, believe me in the days to come, we will take any necessary measure to free them,” said Tchiroma. “We are convinced that they are not in Cameroon. Just a rumor which is [being] spread like wildfire that Cameroon is harboring some of them. It is completely wrong.”
He however says the administration will welcome specific intelligence that shows that the abducted girls are in Cameroon, which he says will help security agencies to free them.
Tchiroma says Cameroon has increased troops presence along the border with Nigeria as part of the country’s effort to combat Boko Haram militants, but declined to give further details.
Clottey interview with Issa Tchiroma, Cameroon's information minister