Officials on Cameroon’s northern border with Nigeria say Boko Haram militants in the past week destroyed hundreds of homes in large-scale attacks that killed at least six villagers and two soldiers, and left thousands homeless. Cameroon’s government says troops retaliated Wednesday morning and killed at least 12 militants.
Officials in Cameroon’s Mayo-Moskota district, on the border with Nigeria’s Borno state, say hundreds of Boko Haram fighters launched deadly attacks on villages over the past five days.
Cameroon’s military says six civilians and two government troops were killed in the attacks and the militants stole two military jeeps and some ammunition.
Guedjeo Salomon is Cameroon’s official in charge of agriculture in Mayo-Moskota, where he spoke by phone Wednesday to VOA.
He says the militants looted markets, ranches, farms, and shops and sent villagers fleeing for safety.
Salomon says thousands of civilians are hiding in the bush on the border with Nigeria and neighboring towns, including Mokolo, Moskuta and Koza. He says on Monday the militants destroyed close to 400 shops and houses.
“They militants crossed the border to Nigeria with stolen loot, including about 200 cows, more than 250 goats and sheep, and one hundred motorcycles,” he added.
Salomon says Cameroon’s military chased the militants back across Nigeria’s border into Borno state, the birthplace of Boko Haram.
Cameroon’s government says at least 12 militants were killed on Wednesday morning in a military raid on its side of the border.
VOA could not independently verify the number of casualties, but witnesses confirmed the attacks involved hundreds of militants.
The governor of Cameroon’s Far North region Midjiyawa Bakari spoke to VOA via a messaging app.
Bakari says Cameroon’s military has been deployed to protect civilians on the border with Nigeria who are again suffering because of fresh Boko Haram incursions.
“Besides fighting the insurgents, troops will provide first aid to wounded civilians and work with local militias, who have a mastery of roads used by the militants to enter Cameroon through the porous border,” he said.
Villagers are calling on troops to better protect them from the militants.
Cameroon’s military said Tuesday the Multinational Joint Task Force of the Lake Chad Basin Commission met in Mora, a northern border town with Chad and Nigeria.
The task force, made up of troops from Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria, discussed how to stop the attacks.
Cameroon in March said at least 3,000 people were displaced in fighting along Nigerian border towns and villages, including Mayo-Moskota.
Cameroon’s government repeated calls for villagers to report any strangers in their villages and said it remobilized militias to assist troops fighting Boko Haram.
Boko Haram attacks began in Nigeria’s Borno state in 2009 before spreading to neighboring countries, including Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. The United Nations says the Islamist insurgency has left more than 36,000 people dead, mainly in Nigeria, and 3 million displaced.