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Cameroon Military to Provide Security Along Border

FILE - A campaigner from "#Bring Back Our Girls" hold a banner during a rally calling for the release of the Chibok school girls who were abducted by the Boko Haram militants, outside the Cameroon Embassy in Abuja.

Unrest on the border with Nigeria has disrupted the education of thousands of young people in Cameroon. Many Cameroonian schools on the border with Nigeria's Borno state have remained closed as other schools in the country reopen Monday after the Christmas vacation. Some of the schools were either destroyed by Boko Haram fighters or the Cameroon Air Force when they bombarded villages and towns that had been seized by suspected Boko Haram fighters last week.

Mbane Wilson, an official of Cameroon's Ministry of Basic Education in northern Cameroon, says thousands of teachers, students and pupils have fled schools located along the border due to bloody confrontations between the Cameroon military and suspected Boko Haram militants.

"Its a very difficult situation for learners and teachers as many of the schools, especially of the basic education sector, have been closed down," explained Wilson. "We face the attack of Boko Haram and the constant fear of surprises."

Fopa Faison, 19, now an upper sixth student of the Government High School Maroua in northern Cameroon, says he escaped when Cameroon's air force destroyed his old school on the border with Nigeria.

"I am praying that things should change [be different] so that we can still live our lives here [in peace here]. Security has been very very difficult. It has been very very difficult for us," said Faison.

Faison's uncle, Alain Ngapoue, who also escaped from Ashigashia with his four children, says their school and huge portions of their town were destroyed by rockets launched by Cameroon's air force against suspected Boko Haram fighters who had occupied the area.

Confidence in military

He says they still have confidence in the Cameroon military that is working to secure their home areas. Meanwhile, he says, they expect their children to cope in their new environments.

Maimounatou Farrida, a student from government Bilingual High School Maroua in Cameroon, says their classrooms are now congested with students fleeing the assaults in the border areas near Nigeria.

She says their peers from the war zone should be courageous as they prepare their future in their new schools.

Last week, Cameroon said its military had launched rockets on at least 1000 suspected Boko Haram fighters who attacked a military base in the border area of Amchide and seized a huge portion of Cameroon's town of Ashigashia and a number of villages. In a telephone interview with VOA, journalist Samuel Sawalda, who is based in northern Cameroon says the affected areas are begin deserted by the residents.

"Many schools in areas that share a border with Nigeria, from Lake Chad to the area of Burha in Mayo Tsanaga, have been closed down. People have deserted and are still deserting to find refuge in the hinterlands. And the families that actually could afford it have transferred their children to safer areas in the hinterlands," stated Sawalda.

Nigeria and Cameroon report that thousands of people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced by Boko Haram’s five-year-old uprising to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria.