Suspected Boko Haram fighters killed at least a dozen people in overnight attacks on two villages in northern Cameroon. The military says it has deployed troops to the villages on the porous border with Nigeria.
Ousmaila Aladji, a resident of Bia, 10 kilometers from Cameroon's northern border with Nigeria, told VOA in a telephone interview that hundreds of the assailants came to the village shooting indiscriminately, looting and burning houses.
He says he believes the fighters knew the position of Cameroonian soldiers in advance because patrol teams left their village 20 hours before the attack. He says the attackers killed at least 12 people including two women.
Ousmaila said the assailants also stormed Dianak village, one kilometer to the south, but that he did not know if there were casualties. Both villages are situated between the Cameroonian border towns of Mora and Fotokol where Boko Haram has attacked on many occasions.
A soldier who requested anonymity said some people in the two villages have been traumatized by Boko Haram militants to a point where they are afraid of reporting suspects and strangers in their villages.
Colonel Jacob Kodji, who heads Cameroon troops fighting Boko Haram, said more troops have been deployed and some arrests were made but refused to comment further.
The last time the militants launched such an attack on Cameroon was two months ago when some 300 of its fighters attacked a military base in the northeast town of Fotokol, and killed an estimated 500 people.
Cameroon is part of the multi-national force fighting Boko Haram in and along the borders of northeastern Nigeria. A recent offensive pushed the Islamic extremists out of most of the towns they controlled but analysts have warned the group is not defeated.
Last week, Cameroon reported that Boko Haram is kidnapping people in hard-to-access areas near the border with Nigeria. But calls by some lawmakers on President Paul Biya to declare a state of emergency in the affected areas were rejected.