, Maltam, Cameroon, Jan 19 – Boko Haram fighters kidnapped at least 60 people in a deadly attack in northern Cameroon on Sunday, police said, in the latest cross-border raid by the Nigeria-based Islamist group.
It came a day after neighbouring Chad deployed troops to combat Boko Haram in Cameroon and Nigeria, as part of a regional bid to combat the insurgents.
The militants “burst into two villages in the Tourou area… They torched houses and left with around 60 people. Most of them were women and children,” a police officer told AFP.
He said the attack had “left some people dead” without giving an exact toll, adding that the Cameroon army had “launched an operation” in the wake of the assault.
It is the largest abduction ever carried out in Cameroon’s Far North region by Boko Haram and comes amid mounting fears the group is expanding its operations into neighbouring countries.
Cameroon already came under attack last Monday when it said its troops repelled a raid by Boko Haram on a northern military base, killing 143 militants in the process.
The Nigerian government has faced widespread criticism for failing to stop the group, which is fighting to create a hardline Islamic state.
Brutal raids, massacres, suicide bomb attacks and kidnappings by the Islamists have claimed at least 13,000 lives and driven an estimated 1.5 million people from their homes, mainly in its stronghold in northeast Nigeria.