Cameroonian troops are said to have killed at least 70 Nigerian villagers as they were chasing Boko Haram Takfiri militants into communities in northeastern Nigeria.
Villagers said the Cameroonian troops invaded their community in the Gwoza area of the northeastern state of Borno on Sunday, December 20. They said troops entered Kirawa-Jimni Village and opened unprovoked fire on the villagers after asking for the location of the militants they were chasing.
“We didn’t know what was going on but the Cameroonian troops suddenly appeared and began to ask us for Boko Haram terrorists,” Mohammed Abba, the commander of a local group in Jimnana set up to fight Boko Haram, said late Tuesday.
“Before we could say a word, they started firing. That scared most of us and we began to run,” he said, adding that when the villagers returned on Monday, they found 70 bodies.
Late last month, Cameroonian troops engaged in a similar chase in Cameroon, during which they killed 150 villagers. Cameroon’s government, however, denied the charges, saying the military is trained to respect human rights. It claimed that the troops carried out a coordinated operation on several border villages last month and freed 900 people held hostage by Boko Haram militants.
At least 20,000 people have been killed and more than 2.5 million displaced since the beginning of the Boko Haram militancy in Nigeria in 2009. The militants have recently pledged allegiance to Daesh (ISIL) Takfiri terrorist group, which now controls parts of Syria and Iraq.
Cameroon is part of a regional task force set up to fight Boko Haram terrorists, who sometimes infiltrate Nigeria’s neighbors, including Cameroon, to carry out terrorist attacks there.