TCHAKARMARI, CAMEROON - The Multi-National Joint Task Force of the Lake Chad Basin Commission made up of forces from Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad and Niger, has deployed troops after suspected Boko Haram terrorists attacked Cameroon killing at least 13 people and leaving hundreds homeless. Cameroon has been asking its people to collaborate with the military, stating that more attacks will be reported during Ramadan, expected in a few weeks.
It is a very quiet and deserted Tchakarmari village on Cameroon's northern border with Nigeria with carcasses of animals and torched houses reminding visitors of a sad event.
Resident Abba Malloum says the village of more than 400 people was reduced to ashes by Boko Haram fighters who came from neighboring Nigeria on the late Thursday night.
He says over a hundred Boko Haram fighters attacked their village, shooting indiscriminately and torching all of their houses. He says at least 13 people were either shot to death or slaughtered, many wounded, about a hundred men, women and children abducted, and their maize, beans, groundnuts and sheep burned as hundreds of their cattle were taken away.
Bachair Hachimi, traditional ruler of Tchakarmari says relative peace had returned to their village a year ago after several attacks by the terror group and residents who had fled started to return. He says even though dozens were killed in a series of suicide bombings, residents were determined to collaborate with the military in fighting Boko Haram, but the fresh attack has scared almost everyone.
He says because of the attack, people who had started returning home after the military pushed back Boko Haram fighters and installed a base of the Multi-National Joint Task Force have again fled to places they consider safe in the towns of Mora, Meme, Mokolo and Maroua. He says most of his people have lost everything they struggled to gather when peace returned to their village.
Midjiyawa Bakary, governor of the far north region of Cameroon has called for vigilance. He says after a crisis meeting, troops have been deployed to secure the area and bring back the abducted people whose number and whereabouts he said was still being investigated
He says he has asked for the remobilization and redynamization of self-defense groups and more vigilance from the population that had been dormant thinking that Boko Haram had been defeated. He says after a crisis meeting, the Multi-National Joint task force of the Lake Chad basin that is fighting Boko Haram has been instructed to organize regular patrols and systematic searches of people, vehicles and homes and suspected villages and towns.
This week, Cameroon authorities said they had detained 30 Nigerians who crossed the border Saturday on suspicion of links to Boko Haram Islamist militants.
Governor Bakary warned that Boko Haram was looking for opportunities to infiltrate when many people are travelling across the border for religious or national holidays. He said with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan beginning May 5, international Labor Day on May 1, and National Day on May 20, Boko Haram may want to infiltrate and kill people as they gather around mosques and markets.
More than 1,500 Cameroonians have been killed in attacks by Boko Haram since the insurgency began nine years ago.