News / Africa

Cameroon Villagers Flee Boko Haram Cross-Border Attacks

Cameroon
Cameroon

Fotocol, a Cameroonian town across the border from Nigeria's Borno state – the base of the Islamist group Boko Haram - looks deserted.

So, too, are many surrounding villages where stray bullets regularly strike houses, killing people and animals, when Boko Haram gunmen carry out attacks.

Cameroon's border area are becoming increasingly deserted due to persistent attacks, looting and kidnappings by suspected members of the militant group.  

Government officials are pleading with the former residents to return, but the residents say they fear for their safety.

Government posts

In addition, many government workers sent to the border localities are leaving the area.

Secondary school teacher Asanji Paul is promising never to return to Fotocol.

"You cannot be in a place where there is no peace. You know that at any one point in time, your life is not safe,” Paul said.

Paul also told VOA that he was advising other Cameroonians to move away from border areas with Nigeria.

"My own opinion [is that] I will not advise them to stay there,” he said.

The fear of the militant group is affecting those doing in business in the border areas as well.

Truck drivers are refusing to transport food items to the border area, and huge quantities of cotton, onions and other farm produce are piling up. Some business owners have fled for their lives.

Ngum Peter, who has been a barber in Fotocol for eight years, left the region  with his wife and three children.

Peter told VOA that those who are still in Fotocol should be on the alert.

"I am really afraid of them [Boko Haram]. If you are not secured where you are, just better leave the place. I am still afraid of the zone, so I can't let my people stay there," Peter said.

Citizens say they are at risk

Late last month, Boko Haram militants kidnapped the wife of Cameroon's vice prime minister and killed at least three people in a cross-border attack involving more than 200 assailants in the northern town of Kolofata, Cameroon officials

The fleeing residents argue that if the wife of a high-level official could be kidnapped from the border area, then they as civilians are at great risk from Boko Haram.

Fotocol shares a boundary with Gamboru, a Nigerian village that is frequently attacked by Boko Haram fighters.

The extremists opened fire on residents in May in an attack people said left at least 300 villagers dead.

Kolofata, a town not far from Fotocol, is deserted.

Cameroon government officials have been pleading with the people to return.

Babila Akao, the highest government official in Mayo Sava division where Kolofata is located, said the military is able to protect the population from Boko Haram.

"Many people have left their villages and gone away because of insecurity.  Measures have been taken to ensure security along the border localities. For defense forces the hierarchy is aware of the difficulties they are facing on the field and some measures have been taken and in a few days they will be at ease to carry out their activities," Akao said.

However, residents have not heeded his suggestion to return.

The hardline Boko Haram group has massacred, kidnapped and looted several times in the areas, even with the government military nearby.

About 500 soldiers have been deployed in Kolofata, Fotocol and the surrounding area to provide security for residents.

Cameroon shares a 2,000-kilometer border with Nigeria and is increasingly targeted by Boko Haram.

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs