CAMEROON has deployed some 1,000 troops and armoured vehicles to its border region with Nigeria as it steps up its military presence to counter a rising threat from Boko Haram Islamist militants, a defence ministry spokesman said, yesterday.
Boko Haram, which has outraged international opinion with the abduction of some 200 schoolgirls in northern Nigeria seven weeks ago, has also carried out several attacks and kidnappings in northern Cameroon. Lieutenant Colonel Didier Badjeck said about 1,000 Special Forces of Cameroon’s rapid intervention brigade (BIR) left the capital on Monday. Several new generation armoured vehicles were deployed three days earlier, he said.
“Their mission will be to carry out reconnaissance and be ready to respond with enough fire power,” Badjeck said by telephone from Yaounde, adding, “They are patrolling in northern region at the moment.” Badjeck said the deployment was part of Cameroon’s effort to increase its military presence in the border region. It had already deployed an additional 700 troops under a joint regional effort to fight Boko Haram, announced in March.
Nigeria’s military said, Monday, it knew the whereabouts of the more than 200 abducted schoolgirls, but it ruled out using force to rescue them.