Four female suicide bombers were killed Wednesday after crossing into northern Cameroon from Nigeria, according to local officials. The news underscores the continued threats in Nigeria's border areas.
The governor of Cameroon’s Far North region, Midjiyawa Bakari, told VOA that self-defense groups spotted the four young women crossing the border in pairs early Wednesday. Three of them detonated their suicide vests, killing only themselves, the governor said, while the fourth was shot and killed by soldiers.
He said he is congratulating the military and self defense group who have dedicated their lives to fight the terrorists. He said the population should know that the war against Boko Haram has not ended, so they should double their vigilance knowing Cameroon is still fighting the war.
Cameroon Minister of Communication and government spokesperson Issa Tchiroma told VOA that troops have been pushing back on the cross-border threat.
He said a series of joint raids by Cameroonian and Nigerian troops begun in mid-December has destroyed a Boko Haram logistical base in Goshe. He said the base was used to mount deadly cross-border attacks on civilians.
"Several manufacturing units of explosive devices were destroyed. A dozen explosive devices were neutralized. Training camps were dismantled. Hundreds of terrorists were definitely neutralized. Over 30 fighters were captured and handed over to Nigerian forces. Hundreds of hostages were freed and handed over to Nigerian forces," said Tchiroma.
VOA could not immediately verify that information. Access to combat zones remains restricted, and mobile communications are spotty.
Tchiroma said the military gains have not come without a cost. He said three Cameroonian soldiers were killed last week, one by a bomb and two others during heavy fighting.
In December, Nigeria announced that it had flushed Boko Haram out of key strongholds in the Sambisa forest and the border between Cameroon and Nigeria was completely reopened for the first time in three years, a key sign of progress. But officials cautioned border towns remain vulnerable.
The Boko Haram insurgency began in 2009 in northeastern Nigeria, but has since spread to three neighboring countries. More than 25,000 people have been killed and close to 2.3 million displaced, according to international aid agencies and rights groups.