(AFP) – A police officer and a detainee were shot dead overnight in an attack in northern Cameroon blamed on Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, a security source said Monday.
“Boko Haram attacked the unit in the night. (The attackers) were looking for a detained member. They left with him and with other people who were in the same cell” of the paramilitary police in Kousseri, said the source, who asked not to be named.
“People in the town were woken by gunfire during the night. It was this morning that we learned that Boko Haram attacked the police post,” Mey Ali, who works for a local non-governmental organisation, told AFP.
The far north of Cameroon is frequently the scene of cross-border attacks by Boko Haram, which emerged in 2009 to attack security forces, civilians and often schools and universities in northern Nigeria, massacring students in their sleep.
The Nigerian army last year launched a major ongoing offensive against the sect, which seeks to create a hardline Islamic state and whose name loosely translates as “Western education is forbidden”.
However, Boko Haram remains a deadly force behind scores of killings and bombings. Last month, militants seized 276 schoolgirls at Chibok in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno State in an unprecedented mass abduction, hours after killing at least 75 people in a brazen bomb attack in the central capital Abuja.
Nigerian police last Friday said that 223 of the girls were still believed detained by Boko Haram, although the precise figures are disputed.
Boko Haram has been blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by the United States. Suspected members of the sect have been committing atrocities against people in Cameroon for several months.
Early in April, two Italian priests and an elderly nun from Canada were kidnapped in northern Cameroon by Boko Haram. The Islamists also abducted a French priest and a French family last year.
At the end of February, they kidnapped the traditional chief of the northern Cameroonian village of Goumouldi before taking him into Nigeria, where they cut his throat.