Boko Haram Fighters Surrender In Northern Cameroon

Nearly 60 men who said they were captured by the Boko Haram Islamist group and forced to fight have surrendered to authorities in northern Cameroon.

After spending two years with Boko Haram, the men decided to flee with their families and hand themselves in, according to several men who had surrendered and spoke to journalists at a ceremony in the town of Mozogo on Friday.

A total of nearly 400 people originally from Cameroon — 58 men, 86 women and 244 children — said they had been taken hostage by Boko Haram fighters during attacks on their villages and taken to Nigeria, where they were forced to join the jihadist group.

The men told reporters they had fought for Boko Haram and were laying down their arms of their own will.

They surrendered at the border with Nigeria to a village vigilante group formed to combat the jihadists. The vigilantes then handed them over to the authorities.

Ousmane Kouila, head of the group, said they had been out on patrol in the border area when they met the fleeing Boko Haram fighters. “They said they were returning, and that they were surrendering,” he said.

The local governor went to meet them and ordered them to be moved away from the border to avoid any reprisals by Boko Haram.

“We are counting on them to also convince others who are hesitating (to surrender) and there are a lot of them they tell us,” said Midjiyawa Bakari, governor of the Far North region.

Authorities would provide the escapees with psychological help, he said.

“They have been through brainwashing, perhaps also having taken an oath on the Koran or made a blood pact,” the governor said, adding they needed help with “all they must have endured” in the hands of Boko Haram.



Top Boko Haram Commander Killed In Encounter With Troops

Boko HaramA notorious top terrorist commander, Abu Mojahid was among the terrorists that died in an encounter with troops in the outskirts of Alagarno, Tuesday morning.

This is according to the Director, Defence Information, Major-General Chris Olukolade, who said that the terrorists had staged a daring attack on troops who were on patrol of the area.

“A number of the terrorists died as the troops repelled the attack.

“Some Rocket Propelled Grenades as well as vehicle-mounted anti-aircraft guns were either captured or destroyed in the encounter,” Olukolade said.

He also stated that the military operations are continuing in the form of offensive action on identified terrorists in some forest locations.

“Aggressive patrols, mopping up as well as cordon and search are also continuing in the other locations in search for weapons and terrorists.

“Improvised explosive devices planted by the terrorists to deter the comprehensive offensive by the advancing troops are also being carefully cleared as troops continue to pursue fleeing ones.

“The operations especially in forest locations are progressing in defiance of obstacles and land mines placed by the terrorists.”

In another development, Nigerian troops backed by warplanes have invaded Boko Haram’s last known stronghold, the Sambisa forest in an effort to finally rout the insurgents.

An official in the Chadian Army said that the Chadian and Cameroonian troops were ready to attack Sambisa forest, which lies near the Cameroon border, from the other side and would move in soon.

A Cameroonian Army official also said Chadian troops are assembling in Mora, northern Cameroon, ahead of the joint operation.

The Director of Defence Information, Major-General Chris Olukolade, said the Boko Haram terrorists had run out of arms and ammunition.

French Priest Kidnapped In Cameroon Set Free: French Government

Georges Vandenbeusch, the French priest kidnapped in northern Cameroon last month, has been released, the office of President Francois Hollande said on Tuesday.

The brief statement said Hollande thanked Cameroonian and Nigerian authorities for their work in securing his release and highlighted the “personal involvement” of Cameroonian President Paul Biya.

The 42-year-old priest had chosen to remain in northern Cameroon, a zone where terrorist activities have been rampant in recent times, despite the security threat.

His November 13 kidnapping was the latest in a series of attacks on French targets in Africa since France launched a military intervention in Mali in January to oust al Qaeda Islamists there. Six French nationals continue to be held hostage in Mali and Syria.

The statement said Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius would travel imminently to the Cameroonian capital Yaounde to bring Vandenbeusch back to France.