News / Africa

Gunmen Free Suspected Boko Haram Militants in Cameroon

— Gunmen crossed the border from Nigeria into northern Cameroon Monday, killing two people and freeing suspected militants being held at an army post.  Authorities believe the assailants are members of the radical Islamist sect Boko Haram.  

Thirty armed men entered Cameroon's territory from Nigeria's Borno State early Monday and attacked a military post in the town of Kousseri.

Parts of the town, which also borders Chad, were ransacked in the attack. Cameroon's state radio reported that a soldier and a prisoner were killed and an undisclosed number of Boko Haram members freed.  

State radio journalist Ebenezer Akanga, who is based in the area, told VOA that the invaders opened fire indiscriminately

"As soon as they got to the brigade [military post] they opened fire," Akanga said. "One of the gendarmes [military policeman] riposted in an attempt to push back the assailants. The members freed one of theirs who was being held under custody after he was arrested last Saturday in Kousseri with arms."

The attackers left with a huge consignment of arms and ammunition, according to Akanga, who said that defense forces have tightened security along the borders.

It's the third time Boko Haram has attacked the Cameroonian city.

On Monday, Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the kidnapping last month of more than 200 girls from a school in Nigeria's Borno state. News reports have suggested some of the girls may have been taken across the border into Cameroon.

Cameroon's government responded to critics who accuse officials of not doing enough to fight Boko Haram.  

"We all know the saying that when the neighbor's house is consumed by fire there is risk that we receive sparks," said government spokesperson Issa Tchiroma. "Cameroon is resolutely committed in collaboration with its neighboring countries in the fight against terrorism and border crime."

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