Africa

Five Jihadists, Two Soldiers Killed in Cameroon Clash

Two soldiers were killed early on Tuesday when jihadists attacked a military position in northern Cameroon after crossing from Nigeria, sources said, while seven other soldiers were injured in a mine blast in the same village.

The device exploded when the soldiers’ vehicle was passing, according to an army colonel.

Both the explosion and the overnight attack took place at Soueram, close to the Nigerian border in Cameroon’s Far North region, the colonel and a local official told AFP. “Two Cameroonian soldiers were killed” in the overnight assault, while five jihadists died in the counter-attack, the colonel said.

The attack was claimed by Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist activity. ISWAP is a splinter group of Nigeria’s Boko Haram, which has led a bloody 11-year campaign against perceived Western influence.

An army vehicle was destroyed and the jihadists made off with a piece of heavy weaponry, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A local leader, who also asked not to be identified, confirmed the attack and the toll, adding that there were no civilian casualties.

The Far North is an impoverished tongue of land that lies between Chad to the east and Nigeria to the west and has been regularly hit by jihadists making incursions from northeast Nigeria since 2014.

The Boko Haram campaign has killed more than 27,000 people since 2009, several thousand of them in Cameroon, and displaced more than two million, sparking a  humanitarian crisis in the Lake Chad region.

According to Amnesty International, at least 275 people were killed in the Far North last year.

Boko Haram split into two factions in 2016 — one led by Abubakar Shekau and a splinter faction, ISWAP, which has claimed loyalty to the so-called Islamic State group.

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