News / Africa

Cameroon Villages Fear Boko Haram Infiltration

Man claiming to be leader of Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, in video screengrab, unknown location, Sept. 25, 2013.
Man claiming to be leader of Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, in video screengrab, unknown location, Sept. 25, 2013.
There is growing concern in Cameroon that the Nigerian extremist group Boko Haram is infiltrating villages along the border.  The arrest of 18 suspected members of the group has sparked wide criticism that the army is focused only on northern part of the country, and is ignoring other parts of Cameroon's long, winding border with Nigeria. 

Inhabitants of Sabongari, a small Cameroonian village that borders Nigeria's Taraba state, told VOA that they have been seeing strange faces in their village in the past two weeks.  The sightings began when Cameroon deployed troops to the north to patrol against Boko Haram.

Schoolteacher Nfor John said their local vigilante group arrested some people pretending to be food merchants and handed them to local authorities.

"People were caught moving down from this part of the country, transporting food stuff with some munitions.  I mean, this is enough sign to make the government sit up.  These are very dangerous signs for the authorities," said John.

Witnesses began reporting possible Boko Haram activity in northern Cameroon last year, as Nigeria's military launched an offensive aimed at crushing the Islamist militant group.

Tawe Cletus, a trader at Abongshe, another village on the border with Taraba, said the porousness of the border and the departure of the military to North Cameroon has exposed them to Boko Haram.

"There are other parts of the country that share a common border with Nigeria which the government is letting loose.  And if Boko Haram sees that the government is paying attention to a particular region, they can infiltrate.  The enemy who does not want you to identify him, of course, will use any means to infiltrate," Cletus stated.

Ngalla Elvis, who lives in the village of Loor, said local residents are scared the government has left them unprotected. "We are afraid.  Ndonga Mantung people are afraid of Boko Haram.  Cameroon government is supposed to be more pre-emptive and proactive than being reactive.  They are deploying 3,000 soldiers to the north where Boko Haram has indicated its presence and forgetting about the other borders where Boko Haram has not yet signaled.  I am talking about physical presence of military officers with ammunition that can actually demonstrate to the Boko Haram people that we are present," said Elvis.

Government official Ayeni Derek was dispatched by Cameroon's government to reassure citizens, told VOA that measures are being taken to protect the villages.  He said the government is also reminding people to help by pointing out any suspicious activity.

"They move around the churches to sensitize [educate] the population to know that they are the first to give information for government to use to counteract what the Boko Haram is doing.  Put it up to the administration that I am seeing this strange face and then the administration is going to take the necessary steps," said Derek.

Preventing infiltration by Boko Haram will be a difficult task.  Cameroon shares a boundary of close to 1,800 kilometers with Nigeria, and less than 50 percent of it is currently being guarded by armed forces.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: meh Timothy chu from: Esu
June 23, 2014 6:20 AM
I wish the high authorities in Cameroon really see into this matter because named Cameroon border villages not fotgeting Esu ,are exposed to danger. Some forces especially the Next. B. I. Rs should be deployed to these areas and not only the north part of the country.

by: Samuel mangege from: Mutengene
June 08, 2014 3:14 AM
In case you don't know there is an open passage for boko harram in henary a small village near Atta . Please check that area its remote area .

by: Kenneth Nde from: Bamenda, Cameroon
June 06, 2014 10:50 PM
It is time for the government to act by deploying troops.
The complains of the masses should be enough for the government to atleast deploy a defensive army in these regions.
The militant group is always swift enough to take advantage of slow reaction of the government.

by: Petech from: Blantyre Malawi
June 05, 2014 5:03 PM
So sad that Boko Haram is still killing the innocent people up to date.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs