US sends 300 troops to Cameroon in fight against Boko Haram

United States announces it will deploy 300 troops to Cameroon to conduct airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations against Boko Haram

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Nigerian police bomb squad personnel gather debris for analysis at the scene of a bomb blast in Nyanya, on the outskirts of Abuja, Nigeria, October 3, 2015

Updated Oct 15, 2015

The White House administration announced on Wednesday that the United States is sending 300 US troops to Cameroon as part of an effort to counter Boko Haram militant group that has been active in West African countries since 2009.        

According to the statement released by the White House spokesman Josh Earnest, troops will be armed to defend themselves, not to engage in combat as they are expected to carry out airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations in the country.

Earnest said that, "The US military forces who were deployed to Cameroon are there at the invitation of the government of Cameroon and will act in coordination with the government of Cameroon.”

“The United States military forces will partner with Cameroon's Ministry of Defense and it will be part of a broader regional effort to stop the spread of Boko Haram and other violent extremist organizations in West Africa,” he added.

The Boko Haram militant group extended its military campaign above its main base in northern Nigeria, targeting neighbouring countries such as Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

It has vowed to retaliate Cameroon's government, as the country has participated in an 8,700-strong, Nigerian-led multinational force designated to defeat the group.

Cameroon was recently hit by twin suicide bombings, carried out by Boko Haram on Sunday that caused the death of more than nine people and injured 29 others.

The group is also responsible for the multiple blasts that took place in Chad only one day before the Cameroon bombings, killing at least 41 people, injuring 51 others.

According to Amnesty International’s latest figures released on September 30, at least 1,600 people have been killed in violence committed by Boko Haram, since the start of June, taking the civilian death toll to some 3,500 in 2015.

Since 2009, the group has claimed lives of at least 17,000 people mostly in Nigeria leaving more than 2 million homeless.


TRTWorld and agencies