• 20 sect members killed by troops of C’African nation in Nigeria
Zacheaus Somorin with agency reports
Cameroun has sentenced 89 members of the Boko Haram terrorist group to death over terror charges.
In contrast, Nigeria where the deadly insurgency started and has recorded tens of thousands of deaths caused by the violent sect, has only convicted a handful of terrorists to prison terms.
Rather than convicting terrorists, who have been caught and detained in special prison facilities in mainly northern Nigeria, the federal government has been expending huge resources on their rehabilitation.
According to a BBC report, a Camerounian military court tried the insurgents over their roles in several attacks in the northern part of the country which borders Nigeria. Since 2009 when Boko Haram launched its campaign of violence, Cameroun has been its next target after Nigeria.
In January 2015, Abubakar Shekau, leader of the sect, threatened to attack Paul Biya, president of Cameroun, over his country’s role in the regional force set up to fight insurgency. “Oh Paul Biya, if you don’t stop this your evil plot, you will taste what has befallen Nigeria,” Shekau had said in a video.
“If you do not repent, you will see the dire consequences. Your troops cannot do anything to us. I advise you to desist from following your constitution and democracy, which is un-Islamic. The only language of peace is to repent and follow Allah, but if you do not, then we will communicate it to you through the language of violence.”
On his part, Biya vowed to wipe out Boko Haram. About 850 members of the sect are currently in detention over alleged involvement in insurgency in Cameroun. This is the first time that people have been sentenced to death since a new anti-terror law was passed in 2014.
Nigeria, with an anti-terror law – the Terrorism (Prevention) Act – in place since 2011, has only managed to convict a handful of terrorists.
In a related development, troops of the Central African country also killed 20 Boko Haram fighters on Wednesday during a raid in northern Nigeria carried out by a multinational force tasked with stamping out the Islamist militants, military sources told Reuters yesterday.
Cameroun Commander General Jacob Kodji said the Islamist fighters were killed in the Nigerian town of Djibrila, which is about 10km (six miles) from the Cameroun border. A spokesman for Cameroun’s Defence Ministry, Colonel Didier Badjeck, said 12 hostages were freed and munitions and armoured vehicles were seized during the operation.
Boko Haram wants to establish an Islamist state in northeastern Nigeria and has waged a seven-year campaign of violence to that end, killing thousands of people and displacing two million others. Boko Haram is thought to have killed around 15,000 people, according to U.S. military figures.
Along with Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Benin, Cameroun has contributed troops to an 8,700-strong regional task force dedicated to fighting the group.