YAOUNDE, Cameroon (AP) — A commanding officer and a soldier with Cameroon’s military have died after their convoy hit a land mine as they returned from an anti-Boko Haram operation in Nigeria, officials said Monday.
Senior commanding officer Lt. Col. Kwene Belthus died Sunday after his convoy hit the land mine, said Gen. Jacob Kodji who commands the Cameroon troops in the area. The military had finished cross-border raids on bomb factories in Boko Haram strongholds in Goshi, Nigeria, Kodji said. The convoy hit the land mine while returning to Kerawa, Cameroon, injuring eight other soldiers, said Kodji.
“Boko Haram has resorted to using land mines to kill our soldiers. Their fire power has been weakened but our soldiers and populations should be careful and watchful,” Kodji said Sunday.
Before his death, Belthus earlier Sunday told The Associated Press that Boko Haram’s ability to launch massive attacks had been drastically reduced by raids organized by Cameroonian and Nigerian soldiers on strongholds in the border regions.
“They put explosives on the road. They know that when the car will pass on those explosives everything will be blown off,” he said.
In its six-year insurgency, Boko Haram has killed more than 20,000 people and displaced 2.5 million in the region, according to the United Nations and Amnesty International.
Attacks across Nigeria’s borders increased by the extremists last year in countries, such as Cameroon, who are contributing to a multinational force to wipe out Boko Haram.
EDWIN KINDZEKA MOKI, Associated Press
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