YAOUNDE, CAMEROON —
Suspected Boko Haram gunmen killed five Cameroon soldiers and seized weapons and vehicles in fighting that started Thursday morning on the country's northern border with Nigeria. Cameroon's military says 116 militants have been killed.
Cameroon Defense Minister Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo'o said the soldiers were killed when suspected Boko Haram gunmen ambushed a military unit near the localities of Amchide and Limani along the border with Nigeria. He said the invaders also attacked the town of Ashigashia, which they had occupied for three weeks earlier this year before Cameroon soldiers chased them out.
Mebe Ngo'o said the soldiers responded vigorously to the attack and killed 116 assailants in Cameroonian territory and caused considerable damage on Nigerian territory. The Cameroon unit had some of their weapons seized and five military vehicles destroyed.
Mebe Ngo'o said after the incident, Cameroon President Paul Biya increased the number of soldiers and equipment in the region.
Cameroon military spokesperson Col. Didier Badjeck said the attack was a reprisal for last week’s detention of 25 Boko Haram members captured in the villages of Ngouma, Sagme, Ardebe, Dambore and Soueram. The militants attacked Cameroon from Lake Chad, which also borders Nigeria, Chad and Niger.
Badjeck said Boko Haram fighters have been attacking Cameroon every day with a large supply of weapons. He also said Cameroon has evidence the fighters want to create an independent state.
Badjeck said some Cameroonian villagers also ambushed and killed 13 of the attackers, some of them using poisoned spears to kill the invaders.
This month, Cameroon announced plans for the recruitment of 20,000 defense and security forces to help in the fight against Boko Haram.