Yaounde — Cameroon says its military has killed some 30 suspected Boko Haram militants who attacked areas where 480 Nigerian troops had crossed over during a battle with the insurgents. Nigeria said the troops crossed over while making a tactical maneuver.
Cameroon's state radio reports government troops beat back two attempts by suspected Boko Haram militants to enter the country's northern territory through a locality that shares a boundary with Nigeria's Borno state, stronghold of the militant group. During a confrontation Tuesday, the soldiers killed 11 insurgents while 16 more were killed in an earlier attack on Monday.
Cameroonian soldiers seized heavy weapons and destroyed one of the vehicles the militants were using.
The attack took place in areas where Nigerian soldiers had crossed over during a battle with the insurgents. The Nigerian military said the soldiers handed their weapons to Cameroonian authorities in line with standard practice and as an indication that they were not on any offensive against Cameroon.
After the attacks, Cameroon's state radio announced that the country's president, Paul Biya, had ordered that the Nigerian soldiers be escorted back to their country.
"The head of state has instructed that the columns of Nigerian soldiers who entered Cameroonian territory should be camped in specific locations and supervised by the Cameroonian army. The Nigerian soldiers have been provided feeding, medical treatment and fuel on instructions of the head of state. At the same time the process of accompanying the Nigerian soldiers back to their country is under way under Cameroonian military escort," said Biya.
Colonel Didier Badjeck, a Cameroon military spokesman, told VOA that allegations made in Cameroonian media that the incidence was a defection were unfounded, but added that they were particularly careful over the presence of the Nigerian soldiers as Boko Haram militants could also disguise as a regular army and attack them.
He said people should support but allow the Cameroon army to handle the situation and fight Boko Haram as professional soldiers. He adds that they cannot neglect details in a war front and are consequently examining any potential actions of Boko Haram.
Cameroon shares much of Nigeria's porous northeastern border.
Boko Haram militants been blamed for a rise in kidnappings, fighting and criminal acts across the border from Nigeria's Borno state.
Many surrounding villages where Boko Haram gunmen carry out attacks regularly are becoming increasingly deserted.