Cameroon’s air force has bombed Boko Haram positions in the far north of the country for the first time after the fighters seized a military camp, the government has said.
President Paul Biya personally ordered Sunday’s air strike, which forced the Boko Haram fighters from neighbouring Nigeria to flee the camp at Assighasia, Communications Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary said in a statement late on Sunday.
“Fighter planes went into action for the first time since the start of the conflict” on Cameroon’s side of the border, after several months of deadly raids on troops and civilians by Boko Haram, Bakary added.
“After two strikes and heavy fire … the assailants fled the Assighasia camp, … losing several fighters,” the minister said, adding that military operations were still under way and that “the toll from combat will be released once the operational evaluation is complete”.
A Boko Haram squad attacked the Assighasia camp on Sunday morning and the “Cameroonian defence forces had to withdraw after trying to defend the position”, the government statement said.
Boko Haram has become a deadly force to be reckoned with since 2009 in northern Nigeria and have made raids into neighbouring Cameroon.
Boko Haram tactics include massacres of civilians on both sides of the frontier, the razing of villages, large-scale kidnappings and, most recently, direct assaults on Cameroonian troops.