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General News of Friday, 4 April 2014

Source: thestaronline.info

Cameroon arrests 3 Boko Haram arms traffickers

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Cameroon said last Thursday it had arrested three suspected arms dealers believed to be linked to Nigeria’s militant Islamist group Boko Haram. The men were caught in the Far North of the country near the border with Nigeria where the group has been waging a brutal armed insurgency.

“Members of the BIR (an elite rapid-response unit of Cameroon’s army) and the police found a significant stock of arms including a kalashnikov and rocket launchers near Goulfey,” a Cameroonian police official told Agence France Presse, on condition of anonymity.

He did not state where the men were from, although he said the arms had come from Chad.

“Three suspects were taken in for questioning, suspected of being among the arms traffickers that supply Boko Haram,” he said. “The stock of weapons was sizable, and we think the plan was to bring them through Cameroon before taking them to Nigeria.”

Both the weapons and the men were taken to Maroua, the regional capital, a source close to the town’s administration said.

Boko Haram is fighting a bloody insurgency in the majority-Muslim north of Nigeria, with the National Emergency Management Agency saying last week that more than 1,000 people have been killed in the violence so far this year.

Some of the group’s fighters are thought to have fled to neighboring Cameroon since the Nigerian army launched an offensive in May last year. Nigeria recently appealed to its neighbours for help in trying to eradicate the group.

Already this month, six suspected fighters and one Cameroonian soldier have been killed in clashes after Boko Haram infiltrated into neighboring Cameroon. The arrest came as 31 Boko Haram members were arrested by Nigerian Special Forces while attempting to escape to neighbouring Cameroon through Taraba and Adamawa State.

This information was disclosed by Nigerian Director of Defence Information, Maj.- Gen. Chris Olukolade who also added that eleven insurgents were also killed. The militants were reportedly killed during shootouts with troops in the border communities.

One of the militants arrested was a mercenary who claimed to be a citizen of Chad and Burkina Faso.

Olukolade said that several categories of high caliber weapons, several Improvised Explosive Devices and over 70 motorcycles were recovered from the insurgents in the operations.

According to Olukolade, “A group of terrorists attempting to escape into Cameroon through Taraba and Gumti in Adamawa State have come under heavy fire from troops on patrol of the area in the ongoing counter-terrorism campaign.

“The terrorists who had been trapped as a result of the ongoing offensive by the troops along the borders were given out when some of them could no longer bear the hunger in their make-shift camps in the forest.

“Those who were apprehended led troops to their hideouts where fierce fighting ensued.

“Seven terrorists died, while a large number of Improvised Explosive Devices and rifles were recovered including over 70 motorcycles.

“Similar encounter in Gombi also led to the death of four other terrorists.”

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