Boko Haram in Cameroon abductions
Suspected Boko Haram fighters have launched attacks on three communities in northern Cameroon, abducting more than 30 people including those aboard a packed bus, residents said.
The assaults by the Nigeria-based terror group came as other militants invaded a town in the neighbouring country of Niger for the third time in recent days, underscoring the growing regional havoc being caused by Boko Haram.
The militants have stepped up their attacks on neighbouring countries as Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin pledge to send troops to help Nigeria quash the extremist group that has killed more than 10,000 people over the past year.
In northern Cameroon, the fighters seized a bus with 20 people on board late Sunday in Koza and then drove it back towards the Nigerian border, some 11 miles away, resident Bouba Kaina said.
Early Monday, another group of fighters attacked the town of Kolofata, looting food and livestock. The town was recently retaken by Chadian troops who have been helping the Cameroon military fight Boko Haram.
Boko Haram has taken on an increasingly regional dimension, with the extremists staging attacks in both Cameroon and Niger over the past week.
On Saturday, regional and African Union officials, meeting in Cameroon's capital, Yaounde, proposed a force of as many as 8,750 troops to combat Boko Haram, with soldiers coming from Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin.
Officials said the force could be deployed as early as next month, though funding issues could delay its launch.
Boko Haram scoffed at the regional effort.
"You are sending 7,000 of your soldiers. Why don't you send 7 million? The 7,000 is little and we can kill them step by step ... your soldiers are infidels and God's soldiers are victorious," said Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau in a video posted on YouTube.
He also told the people of Chad and Cameroon to renounce democracy to be true Muslims.
He ridiculed the force planned by "you tyrants of Africa" and told Chad's President Idriss Deby that he will "burn in hellfire".