While Boko Haram had originally arisen out of Nigeria, conducting most of its operations there, the terrorist group is now fully functional inside Cameroon, reportedly adding to its numbers by kidnapping young men and forcing them to join the Islamist radicals.
A Sky News correspondent on the ground in Cameroon said, “We saw abandoned villages and burned-out schools inside Cameroon, despite the presence of hundreds of troops including some of the country’s top soldiers from the elite rapid response unit Battalion D’Intervention Rapide (BIR).”
Villagers told a journalist embedded with an elite Cameroon military unit that Boko Haram frequently storms villages during the day and forcibly removes their young men, making them join Boko Haram at gunpoint. The reporter said, “One young lad told us how he was approached by the militants as he worked in the fields. They at first tried to persuade him to join them. When he refused, the situation turned ugly, but somehow he managed to run away.”
The 1,243-mile border between Nigeria and Cameroon is largely unguarded, allowing for the free flow of Boko Haram militants’ cross-border activities.
Nigeria accused Cameroon of not doing enough to secure the border and also providing free passage to Boko Haram, giving it a safe haven to plan its operations.
A Cameroon Defense Ministry spokesman dismissed the charges: “They are not in Cameroon. Why would we allow that? This is bad for Cameroon. We are suffering, too, at the hands of Boko Haram.”
At least fourteen were killed Tuesday when a bomb went off in Nigeria where fans were watching a World Cup match. Boko Haram is suspected of carrying out the bombing operation. An additional 26 people were wounded in the attack.
On Monday, 486 suspected members of Boko Haram were arrested in Abia State, Nigeria, on their way to Port Harcourt.
A congressional delegation consisting of Reps. Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Steve Stockman (R-TX), Lois Frankel (D-FL), and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) returned from Nigeria Monday. “Each and every one of us was moved by the horror of it,” Jackson Lee said, recalling the brutality of Boko Haram.
In late May, Breitbart News reported that Boko Haram has frequently crossed into Cameroon and Niger in order to escape authorities and plan further attacks.