CAMEROON: The new frontier for Boko Haram attacks

• Terror group ‘is like the beast of the Apocalypse’

The burnt Church of Saint Peter in Douroum, which was torched during a January 2020 attack
The burnt Church of Saint Peter in Douroum, which was torched during a January 2020 attack

AN upsurge of Boko Haram attacks in Cameroon since the start of 2020 has caused terror among local inhabitants – according to a bishop in the country.

Bishop Bruno Ateba of Maroua-Mokolo, northern Cameroon, told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) that 13 attacks over the last fortnight were the work of the extremist group.

Bishop Ateba said: “Not a day passes without attacks on the villages on Cameroon’s frontier with Nigeria.”

He added: “Boko Haram is like the beast of the Apocalypse, or a many-headed Hydra – whenever you cut off one of its heads, it seems simply to grow another.

“Just at the moment when people thought that the beast of Boko Haram had been completely decapitated, the horror has resurfaced in northern Cameroon.

“Within my own diocese there have been 13 attacks in the last weeks.”

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has claimed that, since he took office in 2015, Boko Haram’s terror activities have been “curbed” but the Islamist militants continue to carry out atrocities in rural districts as well as in neighbouring Cameroon and Chad.

A number of attacks on Christians took place over the Christmas period – including the Christmas-Day murder of 11 Nigerians by the Boko Haram faction Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).

The Islamist militia is also suspected of torching a church in Cameroon on the feast of the Epiphany.

Bishop Ateba said: “We are still investigating who was behind the incident, but everything points to the fact that it was a terrorist attack.”

Bishop Barthélemy Yaouda Hourgo of Yaouga, Cameroon, also spoke to ACN about the attacks in the country.

He said: “My birthplace, the village of Blablim, no longer exists.

“The terrorists have murdered a young man of my family and totally devastated the entire village, including the house I was born in.

“Everybody, with the exception of the sick and elderly, was forced to flee to Mora, 10 miles away.

“It will be impossible now to gather in the cotton harvest. Right now the weather is very cold in this area.

“Please pray for all those who are having to sleep outside in the inclement weather at this time the year.”