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Cameroon Denies Town Has Fallen to Boko Haram 

By Basil Afoni

Issa Tchiroma Bakary 1

Issa Tchiroma Bakary, Cameroon’s Minister of Communication

Cameroonian government spokesperson Issa Tchiroma Bakary Friday repudiated reports that Islamist Boko Haram militants have overrun the town of Kerewa in the country’s Far North Region, close to the border with Nigeria.

Speaking on national radio, Issa Tchiroma, who is also Minister of Communication, said reports that circulated on Friday morning the militants had captured the town and planted their flag in the locality were patently false.

“[Boko Haram] are afraid and I assure you that because there is a wild propagandist rumour that suggests that somewhere in our territory, these bandits have planted their flag. To address the lie with a categorical denial, not even a square centimetre of our territory is occupied by these bandits,” the minister said.

“So my first approach is to say that this rumour is false, it is disgusting. Boko Haram will never succeed in planting a flag on a single square centimetre of our territory.”

Tchriroma’s forceful repudiation of claims that Boko Haram were making gains in the battlefield was in the backdrop of a recent offensive by the militants, during which dozens of people have either lost their lives or been injured, including civilians, Cameroonian soldiers and militants.

On Tuesday, October 13, suspected Boko Haram militants attacked the village of Labado; the next day, landed in the city of Kerawa where they killed two people; on October 15, they attacked the village of Gouzoudou and killed at least three people; on October 17, a captain of the Cameroonian army, Djinebo Robert, was fatally shot in a clash with the militants; and October 20, the Rapid Intervention Battalion of the Cameroonian army killed two of the militants during clashes.

Again, on October 21, seven soldiers were seriously injured in the town of Achigachia during running battles with the militants. In the night of that same day, at least 15 civilians were killed after a raid by militants in the village of Doulo, located about 5 km from Mora, capital of Mayo Sawa Division in the Far North Region. The Multinational Force fighting against Boko Haram also has a base there.

On Thursday, October 22, Boko Haram again struck in the north of the country, killing seven civilians.