The Cameroon government has dispatched fighter jets and more troops to bolsters the 1000 Special Forces already in the northern regions after alleged Nigerian insurgents attacked and killed three people yesterday Sunday July 27 2014. The wife of the Justice Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Amadou Ali and Seini Boukar Lamine, the Lamido of Kolofata town were also kidnapped and might have been taken across the border to Nigeria where the insurgents have their base.
Iroko Magazine learnt Boko Haram apparently carried out the dawn attacks in retaliation after some of their captured militants were tried and sentenced to long prison terms with one getting a 20 year sentence in Cameroon. Apparently, the Cameroon government had also not paid all the ransom the insurgents demanded after they released a French family of seven in April and some religious officials later.
French and Cameroonian officials refuted allegations in a leaked Nigerian government memo in April that they paid $3.15million to the insurgents for the release of Tanguy Moulin Fournier, his wife, brother and four children after they were kidnapped on February 19 2014. Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shakau apparently agreed to the deal only after the Cameroon government accepted to free some of its militants from Cameroonian jails. Part of the agreed ransom was never paid according to various sources. Boko Haram apparently never forgets an unsettled debt.
In early June, two Italian priests and a Canadian nun were also released after they were also kidnapped by the insurgents. Iroko Magazine has been reliably informed the insurgents were paid ransoms before they released the victims, an accusation the Cameroon government has repeatedly denied. No government will accept paying ransom to kidnappers because of the floodgates this could open and the dangers it will pose to their nationals.
Following the kidnapping of the wife of Vice Prime Minister Ali, the Lamido, and the killing of Ahmadou Ali’s brother, the Nigerian islamist insurgents apparently are now targeting Cameroon government officials to send a strong message to Yaoundé authorities they were not happy with the crackdown of their members in the country. They could also be putting pressure on the Cameroon government to pay up any remaining ransom money they might claim they are still being owed. It is early days and no demands for ransom has been made following the kidnapping of the Lamido and Ahmadou Ali’s wife but negotiations are usually carried out in secret between government officials and intermediaries of the insurgents.
Communications minister and government spokesman Issa Tchiroma qualified yesterday’s attack as “brutal and violent and carried out by the terrorist Boko Haram insurgents”. He said Cameroonian armed forces were fighting back at Boko haram and they will kick them out of Cameroon.
Minister Tchiroma in a short statement to journalists in the capital Yaoundé after the attack, made a direct appeal to everyone to help in destroying the Boko haram terrorists.
“I am asking every body in the country who has any information of any kind that could help our armed forces to stop the actions of these aggressors to use any means of communications they have, either by making a telephone call, sending an SMS message, email, through word of mouth or direct denunciation, and make this information available to administrative officials or the forces of law and order…” he said.
Cameroon Nigeria, Chad and Niger last week agreed to create a new 2800 man special force to coordinate the fight against the insurgents whose attacks have since affected the three neighbouring countries. Though Boko Haram has its main bases in Nigeria, members of the group occasionally escape to the neighbouring countries when they are pursued by Nigerian military forces or when they need to hide some of the hundreds of hostages they keep kidnapping either to increase their fighting forces, as bargaining chips or as sex slaves.
Despite getting help from the USA, Britain, France, China and some advanced countries, Nigerian officials have still been unable to trace and rescue more than 200 young girls the group kidnapped from their school in Chibok in Northern Nigeria.