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Four dead in suspected Boko Haram attack in Cameroon near Chad border

Boko Haram militants killed at least four people and badly wounded four others in an attack on a Cameroon island on Lake Chad, an official source told AFP on Sunday.

The attackers destroyed part of a military post and vandalised shops in the attack late on Saturday, April 27, the source said, adding three civilians and one soldier were killed.

Kofia is in Cameroon’s Far North Region, near the border with Chad.

“Cameroon and Chadian forces” were pursuing the assailants, the source said.

Boko Haram has stepped up attacks in northern Cameroon. They were blamed for an attack that killed 11 civilians in the Tcharkamari area overnight on April 15. That attack was the deadliest blamed on Boko Haram in Cameroon in recent months, after a period of calm last year.

Earlier this month, jihadist attacks and a mine blast that hit a military convoy killed at least seven Cameroon soldiers.

Across the border inside Chad, Boko Haram has been blamed for the deaths of at least 30 soldiers around Lake Chad since the start of March.

It is unclear which faction of Boko Haram carried out the Kofia attack.

The jihadist group known as Boko Haram began its decade-long bloody insurgency in northeastern Nigeria in 2009 but it has since spread into neighboring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting a regional military response. More than 27,000 people have been killed and two million others displaced, sparking a dire humanitarian crisis in the region.

Boko Haram split into two factions in mid-2016. One, led by long-time leader Abubakar Shekau, is notorious for suicide bombings and indiscriminate killings of civilians. Shekau pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in March 2015, but ISIS central only gives formal backing to the other faction, which it calls Islamic State West Africa Province.

The ISWAP faction, which largely focuses on attacking military and government targets, was led by Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawi, but last month, audio recordings revealed that ISIS appointed Abu Abdullah Idris bin Umar, also known as Ibn Umar al-Barnawi, as leader. ISIS has not yet made a public statement confirming the change.

ISWAP is the dominant insurgent group in the Lake Chad area, where the Multinational Joint Task Force, a regional counter-insurgency force comprising personnel from Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria, launched Operation Yancin Tafki on February 21 to battle the insurgents. Antigha has said the cross-border operation is aimed at “making islands and other settlements in Lake Chad untenable for Boko Haram Terrorists.”


With reporting from AFP

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