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US Sends Cameroon Equipment to Fight Boko Haram

FILE - This is a Monday May 12, 2014 file photo taken from video by Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorist network, and shows their leader Abubakar Shekau speaking to the camera.

A consignment of U.S. military equipment has arrived in Cameroon to aid in the fight against the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram. This is part of an increasing flow of international assistance to Central African nations as they prepare to deploy a regional military force to counter Boko Haram’s insurgency in Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad.

The United States Ambassador to Cameroon, Michael Hoza, said the military equipment is a sign of Washington’s firm commitment to help Cameroon counter the growing regional terrorist threat posed by Boko Haram.

“Just this morning some more equipment arrived. We have been setting up a logistic pipeline for critical equipment to assist Cameroon security forces in their battle against Boko Haram. We will continue our effort to provide assistance and advice to the Cameroonian military and security forces as they battle to defend Cameroon's territory and protect its people," said Hoza.

Hoza said the United States has been providing military advisors and trainers at Cameroon’s request, and that cooperation is evolving to focus more on counter-insurgency tactics.

Cameroon Defense Minister Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo'o said American assistance is vital to counter Boko Haram's nearly six-year insurgency, which spilled over from Nigeria into Cameroon in 2013 and more recently into neighbors Chad and Niger.

He said the assistance, and the knowledge that the international community is supporting them in the fight against Boko Haram terrorism, has boosted the morale of Cameroon's military.

Earlier this week, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau released a new video vowing to disrupt Nigeria’s March 28 elections. The vote was delayed by six weeks to allow a new regional military push to assist Nigeria to roll back insecurity in the north, where Boko Haram says it wants to create a caliphate.

Cameroon, Chad and Niger have launched air and land operations trying to squeeze Boko Haram fighters along Nigeria’s borders. Regional military chiefs meet in Chad next week to finalize plans to deploy some 8,700 troops - which will also include soldiers from Benin.

Boko Haram has killed thousands, displaced hundreds of thousands people, attacked mosques, churches, schools and homes, and kidnapped scores of girls and young women.

The United States has declared Boko Haram a foreign terrorist organization and has placed a $7 million bounty on Shekau to help bring him to justice.