Boko Haram, has threatened to declare war on Cameroon if she does not cease to support Nigeria’s military campaign against it.
In recent times, the sect has been at the receiving end of a massive onslaught by the army in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states. Members of the sect have reportedly fled these attacks and were said to have relocated to safe havens in Cameroon, Niger and Chad.
However, efforts by the sect to make Cameroon a safe haven have been countered by Cameroonian troops who launch regular attacks against the fleeing militants.
Camer.be, a Cameroonian daily, says the leader of the sect, Imam Ibn Muhammad Abubakar, wrote to President Paul Biya recently to complain about the attacks. According to the paper, Abubakar threatened to unleash terror on the country should it continue to lend support to the Federal Government’s military campaign.
In the letter, Boko Haram, which has renewed its attacks on villages and cities in the north eastern part of Nigeria, said it had no problems with Cameroon. But it added that the situation could change soon as the Central African country was interfering in matters that did not concern it. The newspaper reports in French but its story was translated by one of our correspondents.
“Boko Haram is ready to start a war with Cameroon and all those around the world trying to oppose it,” the paper quoted the letter as saying. The letter was written in Hausa, the language that Boko Haram has been using to communicate with journalists. It is widely spoken in some parts of Cameroon.
The letter reportedly came a day after newspapers in Cameroon reported a bloody clash between members of the sect and the Nigerian Army at Limani, a Cameroonian city.
During the clash, Cameroon deployed troops comprising soldiers from her 32nd Motorised Infantry Battalion, the country’s police and gendarmes to assist Nigerian soldiers.
The newspaper reports that the Boko Haram leader expressed displeasure with the deployment of the Cameroonian soldiers especially.
According to the newspaper, about 400 members of the sect were involved in the clash which witnessed massive exchange of fire and air attacks, leaving the city damaged.
In the past few weeks, there have been joint operations launched against Boko Haram insurgents by Nigerian and Cameroonian troops, in the border villages that link the two countries.
The paper reports that over 30 Cameroonians and Nigerians were wounded while five were killed in a joint operation during January attacks. But it did not state the number of militants killed. It also reports that many people have fled these areas especially the border village of Amchide.
Similarly, on January 15, Nigerian soldiers engaged the sect at Djakana in Cameroon.
The newspaper claims that President Goodluck Jonathan and President Biya held a secret meeting on January 27 to discuss the Boko Haram menace.
“The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who was in Yaounde following the drama in Limani, wanted to get his counterpart (Biya) to give him the rights to pursue Boko Haram to Cameroon.
“Sources added that Jonathan may come to Etoudi (a Cameroonian city) for an agreement allowing the Nigerian Army to cross the boundaries of the border in Cameroon where Boko Haram members flee to.
“No one can yet say that the Nigerian President got what he wanted as negotiations were confidential.”
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, said although he was not aware of Boko Haram’s threat to Cameroon, terrorism was not restricted to Nigeria.