Boko Haram

Boko Haram frees hostages as Cameroon army pursues

About 24 persons out 80 people kidnapped by Boko Haram has reportedly regained their freedom from the sect. Some were said to have escaped while in Cameroon and others were freed as the defence pursued the attackers who were heading back to Nigeria where they are currently based.

Many of those abducted in the cross-border raid were children. This attack has been described as the biggest one so far by the sect outside Nigeria, consequently raising fears that the group is expanding its attacks. The group has before now seized many towns and villages in north-east Nigeria and is said to be threatening the neighboring countries.

This attacks is coming just after Chad, which borders Nigeria recently sent soldiers to assist Cameroon in the fight against the sect.

The attacks which took place in the villages of Maki and Mada near the city of Mokolo in Cameroon's far north region, had many homes razed to the ground before leaving with their captors who were mostly women and children. The Cameroon army pursued them towards the Nigerian border, engaged them in a gun battle, that helped some of their captors to escape. Others were freed after the fierce battle with the group.

Some of the hostages were used as human shield by the militants, according to a Cameroon military spokesperson. For now, there has been no word on any casualties on the clash.

The Cameroonian army pursued the group towards the Nigerian border, eventually engaging the militants in a gun battle.

On Friday, Ghana's President John Mahama said African leaders would discuss plans this week to "deal permanently" with Boko Haram, and suggested a multinational force may be considered.

Niger and Cameroon have criticized Nigeria for failing to do more to stop Boko Haram's attacks.

Correspondents say Nigerian politicians appear more focused on campaigning for elections next month than on security issues, and senior figures rarely comment on the insurgency in the north-east.

The abductions in Cameroon came just days after the country's army said it had killed 143 Boko Haram militants who had attacked one of its bases at Kolofata near the Nigerian border.

That was the first major attack on Cameroon since Boko Haram threatened the country's leader in a video posted online earlier this month.

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