Cameroon Says Boko Haram Stronghold Liberated, 162 Militants Killed

Cameroonian soldiers sing and dance.
Cameroonian soldiers dance in Mabass, Cameroon, February 16, 2015. Cameroon says it has liberated a Nigerian Boko Haram stronghold, killing 162 militants. Bate Felix Tabi Tabe/Reuters

Cameroon says it has liberated a Boko Haram stronghold in northeastern Nigeria, killing more than 150 militants and destroying weapons and bomb factories.

The Cameroonian military launched raids on Goshi in northeastern Nigeria, 15 km (9.3 miles) from the border with Cameroon, between February 11-14, according to the country's Communications Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary, Voice of America reports. During the raids, 162 Boko Haram fighters were killed, four mine factories destroyed, a training center for militants set on fire and weapons seized, Bakary said, adding that Nigerian hostages were also freed.

Boko Haram has been suspected of carrying out attacks in Cameroon and other countries neighboring Nigeria in the Lake Chad region. Two female suicide bombers killed at least six people at a funeral on February 10 in the village of Nguetchewe, close to the Nigerian border. A quadruple suicide attack at a market in Cameroon's Far North region in January killed around 25 people.

Cameroon has joined forces with Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Benin as part of an 8,700-strong Multi-National Joint Task Force, which was set up in March 2015 to improve regional coordination in fighting Boko Haram. In October of that year, U.S. President Barack Obama pledged a total of 300 military personnel to assist Cameroon in its efforts to stamp out the insurgency, which has claimed some 20,000 lives and displaced more than 2 million people since 2009.

Bakary said that the operation in Goshi was led by Cameroon and had been completed with the approval of Nigeria. Two Cameroonian soldiers were killed in the raids, Bakary said. Another two soldiers were killed on Sunday when their convoy hit a landmine as they returned to Cameroon from Goshi, according to General Jacob Kodji, who commands the Cameroonian troops in the area.