By Linda Agbor
The daring terrorists reportedly lost about 50 of theirs, according to military sources. On the other hand, only about six deaths were recorded on the Cameroonian side. Yet, the impact was still very devastating to the nation, especially as they reportedly killed the cook of the Vice Prime Minister Ahmadou Ali and took away his wife and bodyguard. Also kidnapped was the Mayor of Kolofata, Seini Boukar Lamine and many other residents of the Far North Region where the dastardly act was perpetrated.
Ahmadou Ali who was visiting his village, (kolofata) at the time the dastardly act was perpetrated managed to escape to Maroua, capital of the Far North Region. Reports indicate that the terrorists’ main target was the Minister; that they came in their hundreds, well armed, in the wee hours of Sunday, engaged battled and were badly bloodied before they could getaway with their “prized catch.”
Before this latest attack, Cameroon’s military base in Bagarem, a locality in Logone and Chari Division was also attacked a few nights earlier by the same bloodthirsty terrorists. So far the number of military and civilian casualties is said to be uncertain. Some sources say 13 military officers and 2 civilians died in the process, others put the figure at seven soldiers and that six others are unaccounted for.
Reports say the assailants came in their hundreds on board motorbikes, trucks and other smaller automobiles, well-armed, as usual and ambushed the military brigade in Bagarem. In an exchange of gunfight that ensued, the assailants are said to have overpowered the Cameroons army due to their sheer numbers, killing about13 and carting away with two military pick ups, two other cars and a large amount of ammunition. They also burnt down all administrative offices while health equipment and medicines were stolen from the lone health Centre.
In yet another development, the Governor of the Far North Region has reportedly replaced the DO of Hile Alifa Subdivision with the 1st Assistant SDO of Logone and Chari because at the time of the attack, and even up to when the Regional Chief executive arrived to assess the situation, he was not at his post.
Another military source hinted that the attack in Bagarem could be linked to the sentencing of 14 Boko haram militants at a court hearing held in Maroua, Thursday, 24 July, to 10 to 20 years in prison. The hearing was chaired by Chief Justice Barnabe Tomo, with Lieutenant Colonial Didier Sipa as Chief Prosecutor.
The court hearing concerned 22 individuals suspected to be members and sympathizers of the Boko Haram sect. Fourteen out of the 22 individuals were convicted to prison terms. They were found guilty of illegal possession of fire arms, ammunition and other military arsenal, theft with fire arms, dangerous preparations and insurgencies among other charges. They had been apprehended during separate operations in border localities where they were causing havoc, by Cameroon’s defense forces.
Our source say that the Boko Haram insurgents have a numerical majority and that the 3000 soldiers and war equipment recently drafted to the Far North Region to check their excesses are far too limited to cover the whole Region; and that since the terrorists are faceless, they apparently know where all Cameroon’s military dispositions are stationed and so can easily plan and attack.
“Had they a face, we could identify, we would have dealt with them, but with the present situation, it is difficult for us”, he noted. For some weeks now, militants have continued to cause havoc in the Region, especially in the Logone and Chari and Mayo Sava divisions. Earlier, two army officers were killed in two different attacks and some hostage taking was recorded. One of the victims was Seraphin Messi, a policeman who was killed by gun shots on July 18.
This incident happened barely a week after two sons of the Lamido of Limani, Bichair Hachimi, 19 and CavayeYegueDjibril Hachimi, 17, were kidnapped by armed assailants. It is said they came for the Lamido but in his absence, they took his sons. According to the terrorists, the Lamido had all along been acting as informant on the activities of the mindless sect members. The sons were reportedly returned after a ransom was paid, while some sources have denied Boko Haram involvement, saying the kidnappers are criminals who have seized the opportunity of the disturbing atmosphere to carry out parallel criminal operations.
Of recent Mayo Sava and Logone and Chari have been most hit by the phenomenon. In Mora, like elsewhere, the population is gripped by fear; businesses have slowed down while many no more go out freely as before. Etienne Fomulu is a businessman in Mora, native of the Northwest Region. He confirmed that the business atmosphere has been on the decline, since the threats from Boko haram escalated.
Eric, an English teacher in GHS Lamini, has said that the insurgences have impacted a lot on the education sector in the area. He said the whole locality is in total confusion and fear and many students no longer attend school for fear of being killed or kidnapped. ‘I would be the happiest man on earth if I could be transferred from that place. It is no more a place to live in’, Eric noted.
With the increasing terror of the Boko Haram in Nigeria, especially in Gambarou-Ngara, that shares a common boundary with Cameroon, some 10,000 Nigerians have reportedly fled to seek refuge in Cameroon and the situation is seemingly becoming impossible for Cameroon’s authorities to halt the influx.