News / Africa

In Cameroon, Boko Haram Fighters' Bodies Quickly Disappear

FILE - Weapons, personal items and bodies of Boko Haram fighters are seen at a roadside.FILE - Weapons, personal items and bodies of Boko Haram fighters are seen at a roadside.
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FILE - Weapons, personal items and bodies of Boko Haram fighters are seen at a roadside.
FILE - Weapons, personal items and bodies of Boko Haram fighters are seen at a roadside.

Cameroon's military says Nigerian Boko Haram militants attacked a military post, sparking a gun battle with soldiers.  Local residents note that each time Boko Haram battles Cameroon's military, the bodies of dead militants are buried quickly so they cannot be identified.

Cameroon's government spokesperson, Issa Tchiroma, told VOA that heavily armed Boko Haram members attacked the border village of Bonderie in the early hours of Friday and made off with a military vehicle and weapons.

"A group of armed men from the terrorist organization Boko Haram attacked the Bushy locality in the Far North region.  Our defense forces responded and the attackers went on the run and disappeared within the Nigerian territory," he said.

Tchiroma added that the military killed three of the assailants, and one Cameroonian soldier was wounded, but the media reports that nine assailants and two Cameroonians were killed.

Bonderie resident Dogo Ibrahim said the attackers left with the corpses and the wounded.

Ibrahim said there was indiscriminate shooting in their village for at least 30 minutes and there were many corpses and blood everywhere but they have not been able to trace the corpses since the attackers left.

Cameroon has tightened security along its borders in an effort to stop encroachments by Boko Haram, which has attacked several villages and used Cameroonian territory as a base and a refuge.

Cameroon's military has noted that each time soldiers kill Boko Haram militants, the militants carry the corpses back to Nigeria.  

The militants appear to be hiding the identities of those who were killed.  Francois Bingono Bingono, a local sociologist, explained that the militants do not use coffins, do not dig deep graves and do not place signs to indicate where corpses are buried. Moreover, he added, since for burials they choose areas that look like a desert and are windy, it’s impossible to detect where corpses are buried 12 hours after they are interred.

Businessman Moustapha Djiallo, who lives in Bonderie, told VOA that at times the assailants are Cameroonians who have joined Boko Haram.

"There are people who live along the borders who can be Cameroonians or Nigerians but having the same tribe. Some who are Cameroonian's join Boko Haram and fight against the Cameroonian [army].  When they are killed, their tribe bury them so early so that the [military] forces [cannot] identify that those killed were Cameroonians.  They just blame Nigerians," said Djiallo.

The attack on Bonderie was the second by suspected Boko Haram assailants this month.  Last week, a military post in Zina was seized for one night and the assailants stole weapons which they took back to Nigeria.

The spokesperson for Cameroon's military, Colonel Badjeck, told VOA that despite the setback, the military is determined to crush Boko Haram.

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