A missionary has been killed and several churches set ablaze in attacks by Nigeria’s Islamist group Boko Haram in neighbouring Cameroon.
The Nigerian missionary, David Dina Mataware, with the Christian Missionary Foundation (CMF), was killed on November 13 by suspected Muslim Boko Haram militants in Ashigashia, a village which straddles the Nigeria-Cameroon border.
He was murdered on the same day as the kidnapping of a French priest, Father Georges Vandenbeusch, but the death was not reported by the media, a church leader told World Watch Monitor, even though both incidents happened in the same area.
The kidnap was claimed by Boko Haram “in an operation co-ordinated with Ansaru”, its spokesman told Agence France Presse. Ansaru is a Boko Haram splinter group that has attacked several Western and Nigerian targets. It claimed responsibility for the kidnap and murder of seven international construction workers earlier in 2013 reports World Watch Monitor.
Mataware had worked with CMF since 2010. CMF is a Nigeria-based mission agency active in Cameroon since 1989. Its ministry is focused on the tribes of Mandara, Kanouri and Guemergou in the district of Mora in northern Cameroon.
“An undetermined number of armed men crossed the border and entered into Cameroon at midnight. On their way back, they attacked the CMF compound. Unfortunately, one of the six missionaries had his throat cut. Five others managed to flee,” said the church leader, who wished to remain nameless.
Cameroon is a secular country in Central Africa. Approximately 70 per cent of the population is at least nominally Christian and most of its population in the North are Muslims.
Over the weekend of November 15-17, a number of incidents took place alongside the porous border of Nigeria and Cameroon. Local sources contacted by World Watch Monitor say dozens of properties, including Ewy church in Tourou (in Cameroon) were attacked while at least one church was set ablaze and destroyed on the Nigerian side of Ashigashia.
At least four people were killed and many others wounded and transferred to health centres. Despite the reinforcement of security forces in the area, villagers fear continued attacks from Islamist militants from Nigeria.
Nigeria, Chad and Niger formed a Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) in 1998 to fight transnational crime, especially small arms traffic crossing their common borders. But the emergence of Boko Haram saw its mandate expanded to include counter-terrorism.
The force’s recent operations include clashes in April with Boko Haram elements in Nigeria’s northeastern Baga area. At least 187 people were killed, and thousands of homes were burnt down. Many residents accused soldiers of burning their homes, while military forces disputed the accusations, blaming the insurgents.
In August, Boko Haram gunmen attacked MNJTF forces in Malam Fotori, Borno State, on the border with Niger, sparking a shoot-out in which 15 insurgents and two soldiers were killed, the army said in a statement.
Cameroon, which shares a 1,690km border with Nigeria, is not part of the MNJTF. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan this month called for Cameroon’s support in combating Boko Haram.
“Cameroon has lived in denial that if it doesn’t get involved in the fight against Boko Haram, then Boko Haram will not get into Cameroon,” said Mohammed. “One way of putting this problem in check is that every country in the region must make border control a security priority.”
|Islamist Boko Haram|
"Let us 'liberate' you or we will have to kill you."
|The Religion of Peace™|
The Muslim bombing of the United Nations office at Abuja, Nigeria.