Twenty-one civilians were kidnapped Wednesday night in the locality of Mbreche, located in the far north of Cameroon, by members of the jihadist group Boko Haram, police sources told AFP on Thursday. local administration.
« Boko Haram attacked around 23H00 (2200 GMT) the locality of Mbreche, located about thirty kilometers from the border with Nigeria. They kidnapped 21 people, but 4 managed to escape. 17 remain in captivity « , according to a local administrative authority.
« The army has launched a raking operation that continues. Among the four who returned, one said they had recognized Mbreche residents who had been drafted by Boko Haram among the kidnappers, « added the local authority member.
The number of civilians kidnapped was confirmed to AFP by a police officer in the area. « Research has been initiated to find the 17 hostages, » he said.
Boko Haram, whose insurgency began in 2009 in Nigeria, has extended its attacks to the crossroads of Niger, Chad and Cameroon. Although weakened, he remains active in the extreme north of Cameroon, where live four million people.
Since 2014, the Cameroonian authorities have counted nearly 13,000 attacks on its territory that have caused « several thousand » deaths. The insurgency forced more than 250,000 people to flee their homes in Cameroon, as well as an influx of 60,000 Nigerian refugees.
The local economy collapsed, weighed down by falling cross-border trade and tourism, which was highly developed in the region.
Since 2015, the countries of the region are fighting against these jihadists in the Multinational Joint Force (MMF), a regional coalition committed around Lake Chad with the help of vigilance committees composed of inhabitants.