Cameroon said Boko Haram kidnapped the wife of Deputy Premier Amadou Ali in the northern part of the country, signaling that the Nigeria-based Islamist militants are increasing operations in the region.
Gunmen attacked Ali’s home and killed an unknown number of people and abducted others, including Ali’s wife, Minister of Communications Issa Tchiroma said by phone in Yaounde. Tchiroma didn’t provide the name of Ali’s wife.
“The government has intensified control in the area and sent more soldiers there,” Tchiroma said.
Boko Haram has been fighting security forces in neighboring Nigeria for the past five years to impose Islamic law on Africa’s biggest economy and oil producer. The group claimed responsibility for the worst bombing in Nigeria’s capital in April and has killed more than 2,500 people in the first half of the year.
President Paul Biya sent more than 1,000 troops to the border with Nigeria as Boko Haram intensified cross-border attacks in to Cameroon this year. Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger agreed to set up a joint force to patrol the border areas, as the Islamists continue to expand their reach in the region, at a May conference in Paris.
In April, the group abducted more than 200 schoolgirls from Chibok, a Nigerian town in the northeastern state of Borno, close to the border with Cameroon. The group’s name means “western education is a sin” in the Hausa language. Most of the schoolgirls are still missing. (Bloomberg)