CAMEROON has instructed its armed forces not to share information on terrorist group Boko Haram with their Nigerian counterparts after indications that intelligence was finding its way into the hands of the insurgents.
Nigeria and Cameroon share a long and porous border, which Boko Haram has exploited in its campaign of terror, mounting cross-border raids and evading security forces. Of late, however, Cameroon has stepped up its fight against the terrorists, making it more difficult for its territory to be used as a base.
Unlike as is the case with Nigeria, Boko Haram does not have a political following within Cameroon and as such has not managed to infiltrate its military. Similarly, the Cameroonian military has not been infiltrated like the Nigerian Army, in which officers regularly pass information on to the terrorists who then lay ambushes for soldiers.
Aware of the dangers working with the Nigerian military authorities poses, Cameroon’s minister of territorial administration and decentralisation, Rene Emmanuel Sadi, has directed all army commanders to withhold crucial information about the insurgents from Nigeria. In a circular with Decree number G/D/MINATD, tiled Strong Message, he made it clear to the commander of Cameroon’s Rapid Intervention Brigade, that the country did not want the grave security situation in Nigeria to spill over into Cameroon.
He charged the Cameroonian forces to be vigilant along the border to prevent any further spillover of Boko Haram’s violence into the country. According to the minister, the Cameroonian president, Paul Biya, had charged all the units to ensure that activities of the insurgents were not allowed to get into the country.
Mr Sadi’s letter read: “As you are aware of the security situation in the country and the impending turmoil/danger coming from our neighbour, Nigeria, you must keep all important information regarding the Islamic sect under your control without sharing all the information with Nigerians. We do not want the situation from our neighbouring country to spill over to our country. Information from our Western friends portrays Nigeria negatively.”
Already, Cameroon’s chief of defence staff has relocated to the north of the country as the war against Boko Haram is intensified. Ahmed Ogbole-Ode, Nigeria’s foreign ministry spokesman, said he was not aware of that Cameroon was not cooperating with Nigeria in the campaign against terrorism and that it had ordered its security personnel not to work with the country.
Mr Ogbole-Ode added: “I am not aware of the content of the letter, in fact, I’m hearing it from you for the first time. I cannot comment on the level of cooperation between Cameroon and Nigeria unless I get the necessary information from our mission in Yaounde.”
In another development, Chadian troops have rescued most of the 100 people recently kidnapped by Boko Haram following a successful military operation. On August 10, the terrorist group kidnapped 100 people in Doron Baga in the Kukawa area near the border with Chad but they were stopped as they crossed the Chadian border by local soldiers who engaged them in a gun battle, setting free most of the captives.