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Cameroon Lawmakers to Demand Improved anti-Boko Haram Strategy

FILE - Cameroon's army soldiers deploy against the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram in Dabanga, northern Cameroon, June 17, 2014.

Cameroon lawmakers will demand that President Paul Biya’s government outline a detailed security plan to prevent the frequent attacks on civilians by the Nigeria-based Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

Member of Parliament Joseph Banadzem says the demand will be made when the legislature reconvenes in March.

Banadzem expressed concern that the administration in Yaoundé might divert funds currently earmarked for development projects aimed at supporting security agencies fighting Boko Haram.

“When we come back in March we have to raise it because it is great concern for all Cameroonians and particularly for elected officials,” said Joseph Banadzem.

“We are insisting that we need to do a little bit more in order to tackle the issue of Boko Haram,” said Banadzem. “We have been pressing our government to get all the stakeholders onboard and involve every person who can give information, who can act in a way that our activities should be fruitful.”

Banadzem said lack of infrastructure in parts of the country’s north could hamper security agencies’ ability to respond rapidly to attacks by Boko Haram in nearby villages.

“We think that it is time to really get on to develop the area by constructing roads by doing things which should bring the population closer to each other and the way our reaction would be faster than what we have at the moment,” said Banadzem.

President Biya recently ordered air strikes against Boko Haram positions. The strikes killed some militants. Ruling party supporters say an increased troop presence along Cameroon’s border with Nigeria shows the government’s commitment to protect citizens.

But Banadzem said there is need for the government to do more. He said some residents in his constituency are also demanding answers about Nigeria’s response, since the militant group is based there.

“Many of my constituents are asking the question what is the Nigerian government doing? How is their reaction to the Boko Haram phenomenon? Because if both governments are striking them at the same time and hurting them together, we could come to terms with it as early as possible,” said Banadzem.

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