Tensions are mounting as Cameroon insists on trying eight French nationals captured while fighting for Boko Haram instead of sending them back to France for trial.
According to Nigerian news outlet This Day, French Foreign Minister Lauren Fabuci “ordered” Cameroon to hand over the eight suspects to France immediately.
In response to Fabuci’s order, a Camerounian minister said:
Mr. Fabuci demanded their immediate handover to France so they can prosecute the terrorists on French soil, ignoring our sovereignty and independence. The French are acting as if Cameroun is their errand boy that they can order around and ignore the fact that we have our own laws with which we can try terrorists.
In addition to viewing Fabuci’s order as a slight against Cameroun, France’s efforts to secure the transfer of the eight suspects lends “credence to strong suspicions in the Nigerian intelligence community that Boko Haram has strong foreign backing.”
It should be noted that French nationals have recently surfaced fighting for other Islamist groups in addition to Boko Haram. On November 19, BBC reported that at least two French nationals had appeared in an ISIS execution video.
BBC quoted School of International Affairs at Science-Po professor Jean-Pierre Filiu saying Western converts in general were joining with Islamists for the propaganda value it affords the various terror groups. Filius said: “Western recruits have no military value [to militant groups] at the moment; they have no training or expertise. Their value is propaganda and recruitment.”
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