Boko Haram militants weakening in Cameroon – Report


International Crisis Group said Boko Haram has dramatically scaled back attacks in Cameroon in recent months.

The group said on Wednesday in a report released in N’djamena that it is suggesting that the regional security force is gaining ground against the militants.

The group noted that Islamist movement which controlled an area the size of Belgium in northeast Nigeria last year and raided Cameroon and other neighbours to expand its “caliphate” had since suffered a string of defeats.

Hans Heungoup, one of the report’s authors said the report came days after security and UN sources said hundreds of Boko Haram fighters and their families had surrendered on another frontline in Chad.

“We’ve seen a dizzying downwards spiral in the number of attacks and suicide bombings.

“Two years ago, attacks were happening on an almost daily basis, but the number had fallen to between six and eight a month since September,’’ he said.

Heungoup said the study noted that Boko Haram had suffered heavy losses and seen its conventional capacities reduced.

“Partly thanks to last year’s formation of a 10,000-strong regional force with troops from Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin.

“Up to 1,000 fighters with heavy weaponry and armoured vehicles joined strikes in Cameroon’s far North Region in 2014-15,’’ the report said.

Heungoup said the study revealed that attacks were now focused on the northernmost tip of the region, where fighters continued to control part of the fishing industry of Lake Chad amid a labyrinth of waterways.

He said recruitment is also faltering in Cameroon although forced enlistment remains a risk.

Heungoup said according to the study, citing interviews with locals, more than 4,000 Cameroonians are thought to have joined the group and some were given sign-on bonuses of up to 2000 dollars and a motorbike.

He said the study revealed that those who proved their loyalty by killing their parents often enjoyed quick promotion.

Analysts said the faction around the Lake Chad Basin represents the stronger branch of the group, loyal to Islamic State (IS) and led by Abu Musab al-Barnawi.

While another faction led by Abubaker Shekau is based further south in Nigeria’s Sambisa forest.

NAN

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