Officials in northern Cameroon have in a crisis meeting on Wednesday requested more troops from Cameroon, Nigeria and Chad to be deployed to their common border after fresh Boko Haran attacks killed at least 12 people including six soldiers on Tuesday. The officials say several hundred heavily armed Islamist extremists have infiltrated the volatile Lake Chad region attacking, looting and causing panic.
Cameroon military and government officials in the central African state’s northern border with Nigeria say they held a crisis meeting on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after a fresh wave of deadly Boko Haram attacks were reported.
Midjiyawa Bakari is the governor of Cameroon's Far North region that shares a border with Chad and Nigeria. Bakari spoke on Cameroon state broadcaster CRTV on Wednesday.
Bakari said Cameroonian President Paul Biya ordered officials and troops in Cameroon's Far North region to hold an emergency crisis meeting and make sure armed Islamist extremists who infiltrate the volatile Lake Chad region are stopped. He said Biya ordered the crisis meeting after several hundred militants killed three soldiers, two customs officers and two civilians in surprise attacks on Cameroon government troops stationed in the northern towns of Mora and Zigague on Tuesday.
Mora and Zigague are towns in Cameroon's Far North region that share a border with Nigeria and Chad.
Bakari said Boko Haram is weakened but still very actively attacking communities to kill their opponents and to steal cattle, food and money.
The Cameroon military on Wednesday said troops found five other civilian corpses in the bush near Zigague and several dozen houses and government buildings were destroyed by the insurgents.
Military officials say soldiers killed several insurgents along the border with Nigeria and Chad but gave no details.
Government officials say villagers who escaped to the bush should return and be protected by the Cameroon military.
Bakari said civilians should help stop the new wave of attacks by reporting suspected militants to military officials. He said local chiefs and community leaders should reactivate militias to assist government troops in fighting the militants.
Hamidou Aladji is a community leader in Mora.
He said Tuesday's attack on civilians and government troops in Mora indicate that Boko Haram is still a nuisance with an ability to create surprises. He said while the military is protecting civilians, it is imperative for community leaders and the clergy to assist in stopping or reducing terrorist attacks by reporting strangers in their communities to the military.
The Cameroon government says Boko Haram fighters crossed into the central African state from Nigeria in large numbers on Sunday and Monday evening before carrying out the attacks.
Military officials say the vast Lake Chad basin that stretches across the borders of Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad is infiltrated by the militants who want to reestablish bases on the lake's many small islands.
In June 2022, the Multinational National Joint Task Force of the Lake Chad Basin said 3,000 troops it deployed killed more than 800 extremists in about two months of fighting in the volatile Lake Chad region.
The force is made up of 11,000 troops from Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad.
Officials at the crisis meeting ordered by President Paul Biya on Wednesday in Maroua, the capital of Cameroon's Far North region, requested that troops from Cameroon, Nigeria and Chad be deployed to stop militants from reconstituting groups and advancing.
VOA could not independently verify if Chad and Nigeria have agreed to deploy troops to the three nations’ common border.
Boko Haram attacks escalated in northern Nigeria in 2009 before spreading to neighboring countries.
The United Nations says more than 36,000 people have been killed, mainly in Nigeria, and three million have fled their homes.