News / Africa

Report: Nigerian Troops Flee to Cameroon

FILE - A convoy of Cameroon's army soldiers as part of a reinforcement of its military forces against Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram.
FILE - A convoy of Cameroon's army soldiers as part of a reinforcement of its military forces against Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram.

Cameroon's military says some 400 Nigerian soldiers have sought refuge in the country after fleeing intense fighting against Boko Haram militants in Nigeria's Borno State.

Cameroon state radio reports that on Wednesday the soldiers arrived at the Cameroonian border town of Amchide, where they handed their weapons to military officials.

Cameroon military spokesman Colonel Didier Badjeck told VOA the military accepted the soldiers as a sign of its commitment to fight the militant alongside Nigerian forces.

Speaking in French, Badjeck described challenging situations in war that cause troops to flee, and that Cameroon has demonstrated that it is a nation that assumes its responsibility to those in harm's way.

Last week 480 Nigerian soldiers crossed over to Cameroon, ostensibly in "hot pursuit of Boko Haram militants." Two-hundred forty-six of them have since returned to Nigeria. 

The Nigerian military said that development was a tactical maneuver but has made no comment on the latest movement of soldiers crossing the border.

In May, Cameroon’s information minister said President Paul Biya and his Nigerian counterpart, President Goodluck Jonathan, had been communicating as part of a collaborative effort to defeat Boko Haram militants by sharing intelligence and allowing troops to pursue militants across borders if necessary.

Reports out of northeastern Nigeria this week say Boko Haram has taken control of more towns in Borno state.

Wednesday news reports on Cameroon state radio said, "Boko Haram fighters have captured the Nigerian town of Banki as government troops fled and fears have been raised that their main target is Maiduguri, the capital of northeastern Borno state."

Last month, Abubakar Shekau, head of the Nigeria-based militant group, announced creation of an Islamic caliphate in the region.

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