Residents of eastern Cameroon say armed men dressed as soldiers from the Central African Republic have attacked military installations and markets. The government of Cameroon says seven people were killed in the attack and a few arrests were made.
Uneasy calm reigns in the eastern Cameroon border village called Biti. Residents say a group of armed men crossed over from the Central African Republic and attacked military installations in the early hours of Saturday. Secondary school teacher Lengo Mark says he was scared when he heard gunshots.
“I feel afraid I really feel afraid because the neighboring country is very volatile. So that renders Cameroon very vulnerable to intruders. The security has to be reinforced," he said.
The governor of Cameroon's East region, Ivaha Diboua Samuel Dieudonne, says Cameroon's secret services had been alerted of a possible attack. He said that the armed men from Central African Republic attacked offices, military posts and looted shops.
“Our territory was attacked and our soldiers reacted and achieved positive results," he said. "The assailants dressed in military uniform that we know the origin attacked our bases, looted and created panic. Our soldiers riposted and reacted vigorously and the outcome is what it is.”
Diboua said five of the invaders were killed, along with one Cameroon soldier and a civilian. A few people have been arrested in connection with the incident. He also assured the population of the area who had been attacked several times before that their safety will be assured even though the borders with CAR are porous.
“Those adventurers should not think that our territory is a free zone for them to do whatever they want," he said. "The government has taken measures to assure that the people here live in peace and security. For now soldiers have been deployed to make sure that the area is safe.”
It was the third time this year that armed men from the Central Africa Republic attacked Cameroon. In April, they killed a policeman and kidnapped a soldier.
Cameroon's national assembly has called on the government to make the security of people living in border zones a priority, especially along the boundary with CAR and Chad. Awudu Mbaya Cyprain of the lower house of parliament says the issue has been brought to Cameroon's minister of defense.
”Let the government take drastic measures to protect our borders. We can not constitute ourself as the military. We do not execute but we hold the government to account,” he said.
Last August, Cameroon closed its border with the Central African Republic after some CAR soldiers attacked military installations in Cameroon.