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Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers. The two countries have deployed specialized units of their military to detect and destroy the mines.

Cameroon's defense minister, Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo'o, says efforts to secure Cameroon's northern border with Nigeria are being hampered by land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters. He says Cameroon and Chad military units have been deployed to the area around the Sambissa forest hide-out of the terrorist group where numerous mines have been detected.

He says Chad's President Idriss Deby Itno has again taken a laudable initiative to send Chad soldiers to assist Cameroon in detecting and destroying the land mines. He says much has been done, but a lot still needs to be done to eradicate Boko Haram so people may live in peace.

Last month, Nigeria's military launched air raids on the Sambissa forest and reported that it had freed hundreds of people held captive by the insurgents. Nigerian officials also said the final push to clear out the Islamist militants was hampered by land mines.

Colonel Jacob Kodji, who commands Cameroon soldiers fighting Boko Haram, says they received complaints from local residents that the mines were killing people and livestock.

He says the population of border villages with Nigeria has been helping by giving useful information to competent authorities.

Boko Haram has not launched a major attack on Cameroon within the past two months, but officials believe that the mines around their havens were intended to surprise and deter the Chad, Cameroon and Nigerian forces fighting the militants.