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

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go 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.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More