YAOUNDE (Reuters) - Nigeria said it needed help from Cameroon to police their shared border as it seeks to win a drawn-out battle to crush Boko Haram Islamist militants, a Nigerian official said.
President Goodluck Jonathan’s military crackdown announced in May has driven Boko Haram fighters back into Nigeria’s north towards the border with Niger and into the remote hills bordering Cameroon to the east.
But Boko Haram fighters have proved resilient. At least 70 civilians have been killed in attacks on villages in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno state in recent days. Boko Haram has killed thousands during four years of rebellion.
The 1,700 km (1,060 mile) border between Nigeria and Cameroon stretches from the Atlantic coast to Lake Chad.
“We really need the collaboration and support of Cameroon to completely put to silence the Boko Haram Islamist sect,” General J.B. Samuel, head of the Nigerian delegation for the Cameroon-Nigeria trans-border security committee, told reporters on Wednesday at a meeting of the committee.
A Cameroonian official for the region said that his country had already taken precautionary measures to strengthen security along the Nigerian border, without providing details.
Reporting by Tansa Musa; Writing by Emma Farge; Editing by Matthew Tostevin