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Chad, Cameroon say Boko Haram in villages after strikes kill 70 terrorists

Lake Chad
Lake Chad

The Multinational Joint Task Force in the Lake Chad basin says several hundred fighters from jihadist groups Boko Karam and Islamic State West Africa Province have fled to Chad and Cameroon after the task force attacked camps and killed more than 70 terrorists Sunday.

The ongoing operation, dubbed Lake Sanity 2, aims to obliterate all terrorist camps around Lake Chad, the task force said.

In a video circulated on social media and broadcast on Chadian state TV, scores of villagers shouted that at least two dozen relatives died in attacks in villages along Cameroon’s border with Nigeria, and that 12 more people were injured.

The four-nation task force, created to fight terrorism in Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger, said the deceased seen in the video are some of the more than 70 Boko Haram and Islamic State terrorists “neutralized” in Sunday’s attacks.

The joint task force also said many jihadists surrendered in the air and ground operations but did not give a precise number. The troops said they captured many fighters and recovered large consignments of weapons.

None of its ground troops suffered injuries, the task force said.

The task force’s operations are targeting terrorist hideouts in border villages, including Mokolo and Waza in Cameroon. Moubi, Menchika and Madagali in Nigeria are also part of the operation.

A release from task force spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Abubakar Abdullahi said the goal is to wipe out terrorist camps in villages on the borders of Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria, as well as the portion of the Lake Chad basin shared by the three neighbors.

Midjiyawa Bakari, the governor of Cameroon’s Far North region, asked civilians to watch for fleeing terrorists because, he said, they are infiltrating neighboring towns and villages. He asked local militias to help in the effort and for people in border towns and villages to report to government troops any strangers or groups of people entering the country.

Bakari, who spoke on Cameroonian state TV on Tuesday, said the porous nature of Cameroon’s border with Chad and Nigeria makes it difficult for troops to single handedly stop jihadists without the assistance of civilians.

Chad's government said it also has deployed what it says are enough troops to stop terrorists from hiding in its territory. Chad said that within the past two days, its troops had killed or arrested many militants but provided no details.

Boko Haram began launching attacks in Nigeria in 2009. In 2013, Cameroon, Niger and Chad reported that the terror group had launched attacks in their territories. The task force, which was created in 2014 to fight the militants, says it has about 11,000 troops and rescue workers.

The United Nations says the conflict has killed more than 40,000 people, mainly in Nigeria, and forced 3 million to flee their homes.