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Cameroon Says Military Deployed After New Militant Attack Kills at Least a Dozen

YAOUNDE, CAMEROON — Cameroon said Thursday that at least 12 people have been killed in new attacks by Boko Haram in Darak, a fishing island on Cameroon’s northern border with Chad and Nigeria. Military officials say troops have been deployed to stop more incursions and attacks by the Nigeria-based insurgent group.

Regional officials say the 12 corpses were discovered by civilians.

Government troops say civilians have escaped to safer locations on the island. The military says ongoing sporadic attacks make it difficult to establish a total number of casualties.

Midjiyawa Bakari, the governor of Cameroon’s Far North region where Darak is located, said this week’s wave of attacks is devastating to the psychological and physical well-being of civilians in Darak, who have not experienced Boko Haram atrocities for more than a year. He said he has asked the military to immediately collaborate with local militias and put an end to the infiltration which killing and looting jihadists have been carrying out in Darak this week.

Bakari said Cameroon has remobilized militias and civilians to assist troops fighting the jihadists by reporting strangers and armed men hiding in border towns and villages to government troops.

The government said heavily armed militants arrived in Darak on Monday on motorboats through the vast Lake Chad. Eight of the 12 corpses already found have been identified as fishers in the lake, the government said. Civilians say at least three villages on the island have been attacked in the previous 48 hours, with attackers shooting indiscriminately, and looting.

Military officials in northern Cameroon say troops have been deployed to stop the incursion.

Cameroon said the deadliest Boko Haram attack in Darak occurred on June 10, 2019, when about 20 soldiers and 16 civilians were killed in an incursion the military said involved at least 300 heavily armed Boko Haram fighters. Cameroon said close to 90 jihadists were killed in the attack and eight were taken into custody.

Cameroon said other attacks, with fewer casualties have been reported monthly since the June 2019 attack.

Saibou Issa, a conflict resolution specialist at the University of Maroua in Cameroon, said the attacks are an indication that Boko Haram is still very active.

Issa said new Boko Haram attacks and atrocities occur in towns and villages where relative peace had returned, and troops of the Multinational Joint Task Force of the Lake Chad Basin Commission had temporarily withdrawn. He said troops fighting Boko Haram should be on alert because the militants are still very active.

The Multinational Joint Task Force of the Lake Chad Basin Commission comprises troops from Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad and Niger. Cameroon’s military says the task force has ordered the deployment of troops to villages and towns in the Lake Chad Basin where Darak is located.

In February, the task force said Boko Haram attacks were drastically reduced last year, and scores of children were rescued in operations that killed 800 militants in the Lake Chad basin.

The United Nations says 36,000 people have been killed and 3 million have fled their homes since 2009, when fighting between Nigerian government troops and Boko Haram militants deteriorated into an armed conflict and spread to Cameroon, Niger and Chad.

Source : VOA News