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Vol 55 No 17

Published 29th August 2014


Cameroon

Biya's answer to Boko Haram

The military's reorganisation to cope with the jihadist threat leaves unanswered the charge that the country is a soft touch for kidnappers

As further details emerge about Boko Haram's 27 July attempt to capture Amadou Ali, one of President Paul Biya's top ministers and confidants, questions remain about the adequacy of the government's response. The attack – part of a broad offensive by the jihadist insurgents in Cameroon – saw a force of 200 militants driving into the country to seize Deputy Prime Minister Amadou Ali, who was visiting Kolofata, his home town. They killed three before escaping with Ali's wife and other hostages. A major detachment of troops, supported by an armoured vehicle, was mysteriously recalled from Kolofata three days before the attack, Africa Confidential has learned from a source in Yaoundé. Despite calling immediately for help, Ali later complained, the special anti-terrorist unit, the Brigade d'intervention rapide, did not respond and the Boko Haram column was free to escape across the border to Nigeria. Although the attack lasted some four hours, troops only arrived 90 minutes after Boko Haram had left, we hear.

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