Cameroon has been fighting the Nigerian Islamist extremist group, set up in 2009, since mid-May, but the group has multiplied its incursion attempts in Cameroon this December.
The extremists seized the Assighasia camp located in northern Cameroon last Sunday but it was not long before Cameroonian jets shelled the camp forcing the assailants to flee. Communication Minister, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, said in a statement the group lost several fighters after two airstrikes and heavy fire. He said military operations will continue in the area.
Cameroon’s tough response to the extremist group is being applauded in different quarters. Nigeria has been unable to neutralize Boko Haram which controls certain parts of its territory and continues raiding towns and villages and murdering people.
This is the first time that Cameroon has used its fighter jets against Boko Haram. Military presence has been increased in the farthest northern part of the country but operations are limited because of difficult access to some areas. Vast stretches of the territory are uninhabited and there are few physical barriers demarcating Cameroon’s border with Nigeria. Many on either side speak the same language and it is often difficult to distinguish locals from foreigners.
Some analysts see in the attack on the Cameroonian camp a hint to Boko Haram’s intention to cross borders and spread its ideologies across the region, especially that rumors had alleged that the extremist group started recruiting Cameroonians.