Cameroon is sending more troops to reinforce security at the border village of Mabass after Boko Haram militants kidnapped another 11 people. Scores more have been taken or killed in the last three weeks.
Soldiers in the Cameroon military were singing as they left for the village on Cameroon’s northern border with Nigeria.
Mabass is where suspected Boko Haram insurgents have killed scores of people, slitting throats and shooting victims over the past three weeks.
Yerrima Bouba, a resident of Mabass, told VOA in a telephone interview the attackers struck again Thursday night. They kidnapped 11 people – seven young girls and four elderly women – and stole cattle and burned a local church and a mosque, he said.
Of at least 80 people kidnapped from the village since late January, most are women and girls, residents say.
Elvis Madumbe, one of the soldiers deployed to the border village, said the armed forces are committed to eradicating Boko Haram.
“They cannot defeat us because we are ready at any moment, any time to defeat the Boko Haram.… We are waiting for them right now to see what they can do. We are prepared to fight Boko Haram,” said Madumbe.
Colonel Jokop Korji, commanding the troops, said that in addition to the infantry, Cameroon has also mobilized the air force, especially at the Mandara highlands on Cameroon’s border with Nigeria, where Boko Haram insurgents hide after committing atrocities.
Early this week, suspected Boko Haram militants seized a vehicle transporting 20 people, killing seven of them and dumping their corpses on the border. They freed three elderly women but kidnapped the rest, including eight girls ages 11 to 14.
These particular Boko Haram attackers are believed to be among the insurgents pushed out of Gamboru-Ngala, Nigeria, in a ground offensive by Chadian and Cameroonian troops at the beginning of February.