Voice of America (Washington, DC)

Nigeria: Ten Chinese Missing in Boko Haram Attack

Photo: Claire Soares/IRIN
Chadian soldiers

The Nigerian Islamist sect Boko Haram has attacked Waza, in Cameroon's Far North Region, kidnapping 10 Chinese engineers and killing one Cameroonian soldier, according to local reports.

The attack came shortly before the start of Saturday's summit talks on Boko Haram in Paris, where five heads of state, including Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, met to map out regional strategies to fight the militant group.

Last month, Boko Haram members kidnapped hundreds of teenage girls from a school in the remote Nigerian village of Chibok, setting off international cries for their release. Some escaped, but 276 girls remain missing.

In the most recent incident, an estimated 200 Boko Haram members attacked the community of Waza, according to reports. Waza is located 15 kilometers (nine miles) from Nigeria's Borno state, the violent Islamist group's base.

Waza resident Djibrilla Toukour told VOA that men arrived around midnight in a convoy.

"Boko Haram came to our area and started shooting," Toukour said.

The attackers killed a Cameroonian soldier near a camp where Chinese road construction engineers live, and took the engineers' vehicles. Toukour says authorities have not been able to locate the Chinese, suggesting they were kidnapped.

Cameroonian soldiers were immediately deployed to the border with Nigeria to prevent the attackers' escape, said the governor of Far North Region, Fonka Awah Augustine. He said it's likely at least some of the attackers remain in Camaroon.

"There are quite a number of arrests that have been carried out. Investigations are on," he said, adding that reinforcements have been requested from Cameroon's capital, Yaounde.

Authorities in Yaounde are working to stabilize the Far North Region, Augustine said.

Waza is within Cameroon's Waza National Park, a major tourist attraction, where a French family of seven was kidnapped last year.

Earlier this month, Boko Haram attacked a military post 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Waza, freeing one of its members detained there and killing a Cameroonian soldier.

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