Cameroonian armed forces rescued approximately 24 hostages on January 19 just one day after Boko Haram terrorists raided Mabass village, located in northern Cameroon, and abducted nearly 80 villagers. Local military sources estimated that 50 children were among those abducted and scores of homes were also destroyed in the attack.
More details on the incident were reported by Reuters:
“According to our initial information, around 30 adults, most of them herders, and 50 young girls and boys aged between 10 and 15 years were abducted,” a senior army officer deployed to northern Cameroon told Reuters.
He said the early-morning attack had targeted the village of Mabass and other villages along the porous border. Soldiers intervened and exchanged fire with the raiders for around two hours, he added.
Government spokesman Issa Tchiroma confirmed the attack, in which he said three people had been killed, as well as the kidnappings. He was not able to say with certainty how many people had been taken in the raid.
“There was a Boko Haram attack on several localities in the Far North region. The assailants burnt down about 80 homes and kidnapped several inhabitants including women and very young children,” he said.
The attack on Sunday reportedly included hundreds of Boko Haram militants who went house to house taking women and children before attempting to flee back over the border into Nigeria.
Deutsche Welle provided some sobering claims about the challenges in securing the porous border areas between Cameroon and Nigeria:
Half of the 500 kilometer (311 miles) border that Cameroon shares with Nigeria is already occupied by Boko Haram on the Nigerian side, and DW‘s correspondent said it would be easy for them to cross over and kidnap more Cameroonians or send in suicide bombers.
The release of some of the hostages while Cameroon’s forces were in pursuit came after Chad had begun deploying troops to the country to assist in the fight against the extremists.
Thousands of Chadian troops have arrived in Cameroon in some 400 military trucks, accompanied by military helicopters.<
The weekend clash and mass abduction by Boko Haram is setting the stage for the much touted intervention by neighboring Chad. Last week, the Chadian Parliament voted 150 to 0 to provide military assistance to both Cameroon and Nigeria to help battle Boko Haram. Chadian Government officials have since disclosed that the deployment of its forces to Cameroon includes around 2,000 soldiers, armored vehicles and attack helicopters, according to Al Jazeera America.
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