Nigeria’s neighbour, Cameroon, has launched air strikes against Boko Haram terrorists for the first time, killing no fewer than 41 Islamist militants after the large force of jihadists crossed the border and seized a military camp at Ashigashiya, the government said.
Cameroon’s Minister of Information, Issa Tchiroma in a statement in Yaounde, yesterday, said the coordinated assaults on five towns and villages showed a change in tactics by Boko Haram fighters, who have focused on hit-and-run raids on individual settlements in the past.
He said: “Boko Haram’s campaign to carve out an Islamist caliphate has spread from its stronghold in North-East Nigeria to neighbouring Cameroon, raising fears for an already unstable region also threatened by Islamist militants in the Sahel.
He added that Cameroon has sent thousands of soldiers to its Far North region to fight off the militants and said it launched air attacks on the movement for the first time on Sunday.
According to him, “Units of the Boko Haram group attacked Makari, Amchide, Limani and Achigachia in a change of strategy which consists of distracting Cameroonian troops on different fronts, making them more vulnerable in the face of the mobility and unpredictability of their attacks.
“No fewer than 34 militants were killed after the army laid siege to a base used by the militants in Chogori while seven others, and one soldier were killed near the town of Waza.”
Army spokesman, Lt.-Col. Didier Badjeck, told newsmen that the Islamists briefly occupied an army camp in Achigachia after a fierce fight, but withdrew after air attacks. “All the militants had now pulled back into Nigeria,” Badjeck said.
Both Tchiroma and Badjeck said it was too early to give full details of casualties. Biya orders deployment of war planes
In another statement, Cameroon’s Communications Minister, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, said the country’s president, Paul Biya, personally ordered deployment of war planes on Sunday which forced the insurgents to flee the camp.
According to Bakary, “Fighter planes went into action for the first time since the start of the conflict on the Cameroonian side of the frontier, after several months of deadly cross-border Boko Haram raids.
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