25, January 2019
An ambulance dispatched by a Catholic Church-run hospital in Cameroon continued saving lives this month amid fresh outbreaks of violence between the military and armed groups.
Elengu Noella, 27, told voanews.com that the vehicle whisked her and four other women to safety during a firefight between security personnel and separatists but two of her three children were killed in the heavy fighting near the town of Buea.
Cameroon said this week it is mobilizing troops along its northern border with Nigeria as Boko Haram and its splinter group, the Islamic State in West Africa, step up their attacks.
In January alone, the military has recorded five incursions by insurgents near the border and in the Lake Chad basin, with three people killed last week, the media reports.
Meanwhile, Cameroon, which is also fighting separatists in its English-speaking western regions, is believed to have sent thousands of refugees back to Nigeria.
Filippo Grande, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, has repeatedly urged the Cameroon government in the capital Yaounde to “refrain from further forced returns and to ensure protection to those fleeing insecurity and persecution in Nigeria.”
The situation worsened in Nigeria in 2018, capped by a brutal massacre in November when a Boko Haram strike on a military base killed up to 100 soldiers.
Now Cameroon seems bent on sealing off the border as the terrorist group continues to recruit fighters from within its territory.
Defense Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Rene Claude Meka has vowed to fight fire with fire, saying this year will see Cameroon fight for national unity and territorial integrity.
“2019 will not be a bed of roses,” Defense Minister Joseph Beti Assomo said on Jan. 21.
“We shall continue with various operations in the far north, northwest and southwest regions, and reactivate special operations in the Adamawa region where criminal groups specialized in kidnapping are wreaking havoc.”
Source: La Croix International