MAROUA, CAMEROON - Cameroon and its allies in a multinational force are claiming gains in two operations last week against the Boko Haram militant group in Nigeria. Cameroonian casualties from the operations have reached hospitals in Maroua but morale reportedly remains high.
Thirty wounded Cameroonian soldiers have been ferried in the past four days to the military hospital in Maroua on Cameroon's northern border with Nigeria.
Among them is 26-year-old Fabian Ngo who says he was wounded when his vehicle hit a landmine returning from the Nigerian town of Kumche after raids that destroyed four Boko Haram training camps.
"While coming back, our vehicle climbed on a mine. That is how we had a shock, this incident. From there, they brought me here and now we are [making] a difference, I am feeling so happy. This is what we have been waiting for so long. Maybe in two months when my legs will get [treated] I will wear my uniforms and rangers and will go back and continue my mission," Ngo said.
Joseph Hamayadji, a 22-year old soldier, is being treated for snake bites he says he received near the Boko Haram training center at Kumche. He told VOA at least seven of his colleagues are missing.
He said they lost two of their colleagues in a loud explosion between Ganshe and Amcjide in Nigeria. He says he now feels better after receiving treatment at the military hospital and wants to go back to fight for his country.
Saturday, the multinational force said five Boko Haram leaders were captured, dozens of militants were killed and 60 women and children freed during recent operations. Cameroon spokesperson Issa Tchiroma said no soldiers were killed, but several were wounded.
Defense official Kumpa Issa, who is in charge of caring for wounded soldiers, visited the hospital Sunday. He said even in rough field conditions he is impressed with the rapid and professional care for the soldiers.
"The object of my visit here is to forward to the wounded soldiers the comfort of the head of state, his word of encouragement and his support. The head of state has been deeply touched. This message is also addressed to the medical personnel who showed that they are very professional. They are really efficient," Issa said.
A spokesperson for the soldiers, Abdoulaye Bello, said the wounded troops are ready to go back and defeat the terrorists.
He said morale remains very high and his wish is to recover quickly and go back to meet his colleagues at the war front.
Cameroon says Goshe and Kumche on the Nigerian territory has been a training ground for suicide bombers, especially young women and girls.
Cameroon says the militants have increasingly resorted to suicide bombings because their firepower has been drastically reduced following ceaseless attacks on their stronghold since December 2015 by the 8,000 member joint task force with troops from Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad, Benin and Niger.