YAOUNDÉ (AFP) – Cameroon’s president has sent his army chief to the north of the country to beef up the battle against Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram.
Following a series of cross-border incursions and kidnappings, President Paul Biya said Saturday he was also sending more troops and military supplies to the area.
The announcement comes ahead of a key US-Africa summit hosted by US President Barack Obama in Washington where the fight against terrorism is expected to top the agenda.
“In the last few weeks our forces have made important advances against Boko Haram, but it is a long fight,” Biya told reporters.
“We are dealing with a lawless enemy, which attacks in the night, who cut the throats of their victims.”
Boko Haram has long considered parts of northern Cameroon close to the Nigerian border as a haven for its activities, with militants often crossing between the two countries.
The group has carried out a series of attacks against Cameroonian civilians and the military, and last month, the president dismissed two senior army officers in the region after at least 15 people died in violence blamed on Boko Haram.
The militants are also accused of abducting 10 people, among them the wife of the country’s deputy prime minister and a local sultan, at the end of July.
Biya said he would use the US-Africa summit to garner support for a “regional strategy” to counter the threat posed by Boko Haram.
“Because it is an international terrorist movement, we should take action internationally,” he said.