Nigerian refugees have said that Cameroonian troops crossed the border into Nigeria, killed about 150 villagers, burned their huts and forced them to flee.
Mariamu Abubakar, a farmer, said Cameroonian soldiers on Monday, November 30, killed about 150 people in his village near Nigeria’s Banki border post.
Abubakar said that the troops raided and stole the villagers’ livestock and set their huts ablaze.
He was among 643 refugees who arrived at night on Monday, December 7, at Adamawa’s Fufore transit centre.
Soldiers who screened them told AFP that they came from Gamboru to Banki, a 150-kilometer stretch along the Nigeria-Cameroon border.
Earlier on Tuesday, December 8, Governor Bindow Jibrilla of Adamawa state accused Cameroon of sending their nationals into his state disguised as refugees.Jibrilla told pressmen that he did not know why it was happening but noted that there were thousands of people brought in under the refugee guise.
Cameroon’s government has denied the charges and the claims of an attack on residents in any Nigerian village.
Cameroon said its troops are fighting “in synergy” with Nigerian soldiers to carry out “coordinated operations” on several border villages around Lake Chad.
It claimed that as a result of the coordinated raids between Friday, November 27 and Sunday, November 29, at least 900 people held by Boko Haram extremists were freed.
Issa Tchiroma Bakary, the Cameroon government spokesman said: “We have a highly trained military that respect human rights.”
Despite claims that several thousands of Nigerian refugees have been returned to the country in recent months, Bakary denied Cameroon has forcefully evicted Nigerian refugees.
It remains unclear who attacked whom and why; however, it is “a real humanitarian disaster,” said David Miliband.
The visiting president of the New York-based International Rescue Committee said: “They are unable to go home because it’s not yet safe and because they fear for their lives.”
There is speculation that a major discovery of black gold within the borders could be the cause of the attack, as only last week, Nigeria’s petroleum minister said he expects a major oil discovery soon in the Lake Chad Basin.
The minister also suggested that the discovery is likely to fuel more border conflicts in the northeastern part of Nigeria that joins Chad, Cameroon and Niger.
Nigeria’s defence ministry affirmed a few days ago that no fewer than 900 hostages have been freed and 100 terrorists killed by the Cameroonian army in a Nigerian border operation. The army spokesman, Colonel Didier Badjeck, confirmed the development.