The Boko Haram Insurgency in Cameroon

Cameroon’s military operation against the Boko Haram insurgency started late but has met with partial success. Although the first assaults occurred in March 2014.

Militiamen in Kousseri, Cameroon, Aug. 16, 2019. Photography: VOA/Moki Kindzeka

The terrorist group’s presence in Cameroon’s Far North region dates back to least 2011.It has profited from a network of local agents and has exploited weaknesses that the region shares with north-eastern Nigeria crowded market on the Nigerian-Cameroonian boundary.

Militant groups have long targeted military and civilian sites in the market town and its surrounding areas. As many as 30 people have been killed after a bomb ripped through a congested market on a bridge connecting the Nigerian town of Gamboru and Cameroon’s Fotokol. The Far North is the poorest of Cameroon’s regions and has the lowest school enrolment rate.

A combination of weak national integration and historic neglect by the state have for many years contributed to violence and the presence of smugglers in the region, with a proliferation of highway robbers, traffickers and petty criminals.

Gamboru is routinely attacked by militant groups operating in the area. Photography: DW

Boko Haram’s decade-long insurgency began in northeastern Nigeria and has spilled across borders into Cameroon, as well as Niger and Chad. The group has killed tens of thousands of people, displaced millions and created one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises. In recent years some fighters have pledged allegiance to the terrorist group creating a new threat.

Nigerian soldiers have been fighting a brutal insurgency staged by Boko Haram Militant attacks. Militant groups operating in the area have targeted Gamboru on multiple occasions since 2014.That year, Boko Haram seized Gamboru and the nearby town of Ngala.

After a month’s long siege, Nigerian troops managed to wrestle back control of Gamboru with assistance from Chadian forces. But the militant group still launches attacks on military and civilian targets in the area. The UNHCR refugee agency estimates that approximately 26 million people in the Lake Chad region have been affected by Boko Haram violence and more than 2.6 million displaced.

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