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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid