Cameroonian defence ministry has said that its troops have killed 100 Boko Haram militants and freed 900 captives that were held by the militant group in the country.
The country’s defence minister, Joseph Beti Assomo, in a news site Cameroon Web, said that an important stock of weapons and ammunition and flags belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), to which Boko Haram is affiliated have been seized.
The defence ministry said the soldiers killed the militants and rescued the hostages during an operation last week along the Cameroon-Nigeria border.
“In the course of this operation, at least 100 members of Boko Haram were killed. Nine hundred hostages detained by Boko Haram were freed,” army spokesman, Colonel Didier Badjeck said.
He said multi-national forces including the Nigerian army and Chadian soldiers were involved in the operation in the far northern border area with Nigeria, from November 26 to 28.
An independent researcher on War and Conflict Study and Boko Haram specialist, Aliyu Musa, in an interview with Al Jazeera said that the reports were true, adding that the number of fatalities was very significant.
“The Boko Haram fighters are not as organised as they used to be, and training those many fighters take time.
“It is important that Cameroon is coordinating the operation with its neighbouring countries, as it denies Boko Haram easy exit routes across the border,” Musa said.
Musa added that the operation should have happened as early as July or August, when the deployment of a multi-national force was first announced.
“This should have happened much earlier, because this terrorist group has been carrying out attacks in border regions,” he said, pointing out that in recent weeks, the group killed an ethnic ruler and his family in Niger.
The armed group is using Cameroon’s impoverished far north to stockpile supplies and recruits until the government cracked down last year.