Cameroon’s incumbent President Paul Biya is seeking to extend his 36-year rule as he is running for the upcoming presidential election, due on Oct. 7, along with a list of eight other candidates.
Biya is often criticized for the way his government deals with a number of issues, including the encountering of Boko Haram and its increased activities in Cameroon.
Founded in 2002, Boko Haram, also known as the Islamic State in West Africa, is a jihadist militant organization based in northeastern Nigeria, also active in Chad, Niger and northern Cameroon.
It has launching military and suicide missions against Cameroonian security forces near the borders with Nigeria in an attempt take control over the Lake Chad region.
Efforts to encounter Boko Haram included the digging of trenches with a length of three meters and a width of four meters over a distance of about 100km along the border between Cameroon and Nigeria.
The trenches block access for motorcycles, pedestrians and vehicles, and have enabled security forces to identify and control movement remotely from a single location.
Boko Haram, however, still manage to carry out attacks through a number of reasons that contribute to the increase in the organization’s activities, according to South-West Region local leader Besung Ethouben.
“The exerted efforts so far are not enough; the army is fighting many targets, as they fight Boko Haram and the armed separatists of Cameroon’s English-speaking minority, constituting a heavy burden over the army’s shoulders.”
“A circulated footage of men in military uniforms shooting a group of women and their children could change the course of events,” Ethouben added.
Amani al-Taweel, head of the African affairs program at Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, told The Reference that the responsibility of eliminating Boko Haram cannot be of a single government.
“The terrorist organization is active in four African countries. Encountering Boko Haram require both regional and international cooperation,” Taweel added.
The government of Cameroon has opened an investigation into the authenticity of a video circulating on social media platforms which shows armed men, presumed Cameroonian soldiers, executing two women and their children, accused of being accomplices of the Nigerian jihadist group Boko Haram.
In July 12, an investigation by Amnesty International experts gathered credible evidence that it was Cameroonian soldiers depicted in the video.
On the other hand, however, Government spokesman Issa Tchiroma Bakary said the men in the footage appeared not to be Cameroonian army soldiers. Their weapons and uniforms were not standard issue for the Cameroonian army in the north, he said.
Recently, Cameroon’s Defense Ministry announced a surge in Boko Haram’s attacks since Sept. 2016, estimating casualties of more than 20 civilians between Sept. – Nov. 2017. By the end of 2017, six people were killed in two attacks carried out by Boko Haram.
“Right now, we are being infiltrated by Boko Haram. The military has decided to strengthen the intelligence system to effectively counter this threat, which seems to be gaining local support,” Colonel Didier Badjeck, spokesperson for the Cameroon Ministry of Defense, told IPS.
But despite of the military campaigns that are being initiated by the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa against Boko Haram, the organization is only their terror operations.
In March, the Nigerian government deployed several military outposts along the northwestern borders with Cameroon, in a bid to limit the influence and expansion of the extremist group.