Cameroon says nearly 1,200 people have been killed in the country by the Nigeria-based Boko Haram group since 2013.
Issa Tchiroma Bakary, Cameroon’s communications minister, said Friday that Boko Haram militants had carried out 315 raids and 32 bomb attacks in the country’s northern border areas.
“1,098 civilians, 67 of our soldiers and three police officials have been killed in these barbaric attacks by the Boko Haram group,” the minister told reporters in the capital Yaounde.
Since July last year, Cameroon’s far north has seen a wave of attacks attributed to Boko Haram militants. This year, the number of attacks has soared to an almost daily basis.
“In the face of such unjustified and gratuitous harassment our defense and security forces have inflicted heavy losses on the enemy,” Bakary said, adding that the extremist militants are now sending their women or girls to carry out bomb attacks.
Since late November, the Cameroon army has carried out operations in several border areas aimed at weakening Nigerian militants active in the region.
Boko Haram has over the past year stepped up cross-border attacks in Niger, Chad and Cameroon, targeting busy markets, mosques, religious leaders and tribal chiefs opposed to them.
The militant group, which is affiliated to Daesh, maintains strongholds in areas that are difficult to access, such as the Sambisa forest, the Mandara mountains and the numerous islands of Lake Chad.
Boko Haram’s six-year military campaign has left about 20,000 people dead in Nigeria, and hundreds of others in neighboring Cameroon, Niger and Chad.
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