MORA, CAMEROON —
Fighting between the Cameroon military and suspected Boko Haram militants has been going on in towns and villages in the north for a month, with at least 250 people killed.
People have been fleeing the Cameroonian border communities, including Amchide, Banki, Fotokol, Makambara, Djokana, Tourou, Dingding, Dombam and Damang, where fighting has been raging.
Ahminou Djafarou of Dingding said assailants killed 22 people in the village before Cameroonian forces arrived.
Djafarou said he is grateful to the Cameroon government and military for saving their lives.
Cameroon's military spokesman Colonel Didier Badjeck said at least 250 people, including nine soldiers and many civilians, have been killed along the 500-kilometer boundary that separates Nigeria's Borno state, the base area of Boko Haram, from northern Cameroon.
Badjeck said Boko Haram has an impressive arsenal of war weapons, and attacks towns and villages regularly to extend their territory from the Borno state region into Cameroon's border villages.
He said late last week Boko Haram fighters fired rockets when Cameroon's Chief of Defense, General René Claude Meka, visited the border areas to encourage his soldiers.
Badjeck said the militants attack every day, and are trying to seize the town of Fotokol.
A few months ago, the militants seized the Cameroonian border town of Ashigashia and occupied it for a month before being driven away.
Meka is defiant and vows to defeat Boko Haram in Cameroon, saying Boko Haram should know that Cameroon will use all available means to destroy them. He said they will not find refuge in Cameroon.
Boko Haram allegations
Cameroon's Communication Minister and government spokesperson, Issa Tchiroma, has strongly refuted allegations that the Nigerian group has already installed itself in Cameroon.
"Allusion is being made of an armed rebellion under the cover of Boko Haram in Cameroon. This is a bunch of unfounded fragrant allegation," Tchiroma said. "Everyone knows who Boko Haram is and what their motivations from their base in Nigeria are."
The Nigerian militant group, has fought a bloody five-year revolt, mostly in northeast Nigeria where it wants to carve out an Islamist caliphate.
Nigeria announced last week that it had reached a cease-fire with the group and that more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped earlier this year from a school in Chibock were to be freed, but that has not happened and fighting has continued in both Cameroon and Nigeria.