Wednesday , February 21 2018
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Cameroonian troops enter Nigeria seeking separatists

Cameroonian troops crossed into neighbouring Nigeria in pursuit of separatist rebels, a Nigerian state defence spokesman and a former community leader said on Wednesday.

Cameroon has been fighting Anglophone separatists who have taken up arms over the past year in an attempt to create a nation which they call Ambazonia. The insurgency represents the gravest challenge yet to the 35-year rule of Cameroon’s President Paul Biya.

More than 43,000 Cameroonians have fled as refugees to Nigeria to escape the government crackdown on the separatists, say local aid officials. The majority are in Nigeria’s Cross River state, which borders southwest Cameroon.

A spokesman for Nigeria’s civil defence agency in Cross River state said Cameroonian gendarmes crossed into Danare, a border community in the Boki local government area of Cross River state, on Tuesday. He said they harassed Cameroonian refugees and their Nigerian hosts.

“The gendarmes came in briefly, harassed the people and left immediately. They have been doing this since the crisis of agitation for independence forced these refugees to flee Cameroon and come into Nigeria,” said Solomon Eremi, a spokesman for the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

A former councillor in Boki, Douglas Ogar, also said Cameroonian gendarmes had entered the community. “The gendarmes are so emboldened as they have shown outright defiance to Nigeria’s territorial sovereignty,” he said.

Cameroonian officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

It is not the first incursion by Cameroonian gendarmes. At least one such move was carried out by troops last month.

Last week, a Cameroonian separatist leader arrested in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, was deported.

The linguistic divide in Cameroon – a mostly Francophone country – harks back to the end of World War One when the German colony of Kamerun was carved up between allied French and British victors.

The English-speaking regions joined the French-speaking Republic of Cameroon the year after its independence in 1960. French speakers have dominated the country’s politics since.

 

About Lanre Oyetade

A multiple award winner in Economics and business journalism, Lanre Oyetade has served close to two decades in the media industry, spanning different notable stables, where he is privileged to have risen to the position of a title editor. A masters degree holder in Economics from the University of Lagos and doctoral student at the Babcock University, he is a winner of the prestigious NMMA Capital Market Award for two consecutive years (2004 & 2005), and was also a nominee for the body’s banking and finance and money market awards for two years. In 2013, he also won the Most Outstanding Business-Reporting Title Editor award of the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN). A minister in the LORDS’s vineyard, he has been an inspirational speaker and resource person at many corporate and religious fora since early 2004, and has so far authored three books on the capital market; on personal effectiveness, and on personal finance, in 2008 and 2014, respectively.