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Tuesday 20 February 2018

Boko Haram in bus hijackings

Boko Haram has intensified its attacks in Cameroon and Niger over the past week. (AP)
Boko Haram has intensified its attacks in Cameroon and Niger over the past week. (AP)

Boko Haram extremists have abducted about 30 people including eight Cameroonian girls and killed seven hostages in two bus hijackings in Cameroon and Nigeria, Cameroon residents and a Nigerian intelligence officer said.

The Islamic group, who kidnapped nearly 300 schoolgirls in Nigeria last year in an incident that ignited international outrage, have taken eight Cameroonian girls hostage, said Chetima Ahmidou, the principal of a school in the area.

The girls range in age from 11 to 14 and come from the town of Koza, he said.

The bus attack took place on Sunday about 11 miles from the border with Nigeria. Seven other hostages were killed and their bodies scattered near the border, said Mr Ahmidou, whose brother was the bus driver and was among those killed.

Also on Sunday, across the border in Nigeria, the militants held up a bus in Akada-Banga village, Bama district, and made off with about 20 people, including women and children, according to a security officer.

Boko Haram has fought a five-year insurgency against the Nigerian government, launching scores of attacks that left 10,000 people dead last year alone.

In recent weeks, the terror group has intensified its assaults on neighbouring Cameroon and Niger. Together with Nigeria's other neighbours, Benin and Chad, they have pledged to form an 8,750-strong multinational force to confront the Islamic extremists.

Niger's parliament voted yesterday to approve supporting the mission. The vote came hours after a car bombing in the town of Diffa, which was blamed on Boko Haram, who had launched three other attacks on the town since Friday.

Press Association

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