Monday, December 9, 2013

Nigeria's Boko Haram strikes again in Cameroon

Missionary killed, churches torched around time of French priest's kidnapping

By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

CAMEROON (ANS) -- A missionary has been killed and several churches set ablaze in attacks by Nigeria's Islamist group Boko Haram in neighboring Cameroon.

In April last year, churches were targeted by suspected Boko Haram militants. Some victims had their throats cut, while others were beaten to death or burned alive. This is one of the survivors, whose name is being withheld to protect his security. (via Cameroon Human Rights Monitoring)
According to a story by the World Watch Monitor (WWM), the Nigerian missionary, David Dina Mataware, with the Christian Missionary Foundation (CMF), was killed on Nov. 13 by suspected Boko Haram militants in Ashigashia. That's a village which straddles the Nigeria-Cameroon border.

He was murdered on the same day as the kidnapping of a French priest, Father Georges Vandenbeusch. However, the death was not reported by the media, a church leader told WWM, even though both incidents happened in the same area.

The kidnap was claimed by Boko Haram "in an operation co-ordinated with Ansaru," its spokesman told Agence France Presse.

Ansaru is a Boko Haram splinter group that has attacked several Western and Nigerian targets. It claimed responsibility for the kidnap and murder of seven international construction workers earlier in 2013.

WWM said Mataware had worked with CMF since 2010. CMF is a Nigeria-based mission agency active in Cameroon since 1989. Its ministry is focused on the tribes of Mandara, Kanouri and Guem ergou in the district of Mora in northern Cameroon.

"An undetermined number of armed men crossed the border and entered into Cameroon at midnight. On their way back, they attacked the CMF compound. Unfortunately, one of the six missionaries had his throat cut. Five others managed to flee," 
said the church leader, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Cameroon is a secular country in Central Africa. Approximately 70 per cent of the population is at least nominally Christian and most of its population in the North are Muslims.

Over the weekend of Nov. 15-17, a number of incidents took place alongside the porous border of Nigeria and Cameroon.

Local sources contacted by WWM said dozens of properties, including Ewy church in Tourou (in Cameroon) were attacked while at least one church was set ablaze and destroyed on the Nigerian side of Ashigashia.

At least four people were killed and many others wounded and transferred to health centers. Despite the reinforcement of security forces in the area, villagers f ear continued attacks from Islamist militants from Nigeria.

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