LAGOS—No fewer than 300 Boko Haram fighters have surrendered in Nigeria’s neighbouring country Cameroon in the past three weeks, Cameroon’s defense ministry has said.
Cameroon’s defence Spokesman Lt. Col. Didier Badjeck told The Associated Press that the militants have given up their arms and asked for asylum in Cameroon. Their fate has not been decided.
Fighters from neighbouring Cameroon, Niger and Chad have been identified fighting alongside Nigeria’s homegrown Boko Haram group, which in recent weeks also has been attacking border towns and villages in Cameroon.
According to the country’s military spokesman, Lt. Col. Didier Badjeck, the Islamist militants gave up their arms and asked for asylum in Cameroon.
Cameroon soldiers also Saturday captured Abakar Ali, one of Boko Haram top commanders. The country’s army also seized a huge cache of arms and ammunition from the Islamist militants during the operation.
Reports said Ali, who also goes by name “Mustapher Umar” was caught with 5 machine guns, 14 rifles, 24 rockets, 4 rocket launchers, 6 Kalashnikovs, 60 Kalashnikovs magazines, 4 automatic pistols , over 500 9mm ammunition, 469 12.7mm ammunition, 4,454 7.62 mm ammunition, 1,491 5.56 mm ammunition, 822 ammunition of 7.62 mm, 6 grenades, 28 rocket launcher chargers and other weaponized accessories like pincers, tweezers and knives.
Cameroonian soldiers nabbed Mr. Ali with two other Boko Haram fighters in Kousseri, a town in northern Cameroon.
He is described as the insurgent commander, who has been leading the Islamist sect’s attacks around the border towns between Nigeria and Cameroon.
Ali often shuttled between various Boko Haram camps in the area and organized deadly attacks that targeted mostly civilians.
It is expected that the Cameroonian military would share intelligence gathered from the apprehended sect member.
The insurgents have in recent weeks attacked border towns and villages in Cameroon.
Boko Haram had seized a string of towns and declared an Islamic caliphate in northeast Nigeria before the Nigerian military started recording victories with air and ground attacks that have resulted into 135 Boko Haram fighters also surrendering to Nigeria’s army.
According to the Nigerian Defence Ministry, about 135 insurgents surrendered last Tuesday night, some at Buni-Yadi some 200 kilometers (125 miles) west of Konduga and others at Michika, 165 kilometers (100 miles) south of Konduga.
It was gathered that several militant commanders were among the dead including Mohammed Bashir, whom the Nigerian military identified as a double who posed in videos as Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau.
The Nigerian military has claimed in a statement that Shekau has been killed in a battle last year.
Prior to the emergence of reports that Shekau has been killed, President Goodluck Jonathan has revealed that the Boko Haram would end by next month.
Jonathan made the revelation on in Abuja, while speaking at the 66th National Executive Committee, NEC of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
He said the security challenge posed by the sect who have been killing innocent Nigerians as well as the destruction of properties estimated at billions of naira would drastically change.