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Cameroon to deploy 2,000 extra troops for fight against Boko Haram

The move comes days after a series of suicide bombings killed more than 30 people in the northern town of Maroua, which is where the Cameroonian military bases its operations against terrorist group Boko Haram.

By Fred Lambert
Cameroon to deploy 2,000 extra troops for fight against Boko Haram
During the civil affairs situational training exercise at Central Accord 14 in Koutaba, Cameroon, a Cameroon Defense Force lieutenant leads his platoon to investigate allegations against a suspected perpetrator of gender-based violence, March 18, 2014. State media announced on July 28, 2015 that Cameroon would deploy an additional 2,000 troops to its northern border with Nigeria to bolster combat operations against terrorist group Boko Haram. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Tracy R. Myers/CC/Wikimedia Commons

MAROUA, Cameroon, July 28 (UPI) -- Cameroon is deploying an additional 2,000 troops to its northern border with Nigeria to reinforce units operating there against terrorist group Boko Haram.

The increase will bring troop strength in the area to well over 8,000, the BBC reports.

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State television reported the development, which comes after a series of suicide attacks in the northern town of Maroua killed more than 30 people last week.

A suicide bomber, described by witnesses as a teenage girl, blew herself up at a popular bar on Saturday, killing 20 people, and two suicide bombers, also described by witnesses as teenage girls, detonated at a market and a nearby neighborhood on Wednesday, killing 13 people.

The Cameroonian military uses Maroua as its headquarters for operations against Boko Haram.

Since 2009, Islamic extremist group Boko Haram has waged a campaign of terror in order to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria. The group has been known to commit mass kidnappings and executions as well as assaults on remote towns and military bases, and it has been suspected of using kidnapped girls as suicide bombers. Amnesty International estimates up to 17,000 people have been killed by the group since it began its insurgency seven years ago.

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Most of the violence has been concentrated in northeastern Nigeria, particularly in Borno state, but Niger and Cameroon have engaged the extremists in bloody battles around the border regions inside their respective countries.

In January the African Union endorsed a 7,500-strong multinational force to combat Boko Haram. The coalition, which comprises military efforts from Benin, Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Nigeria, has been delayed for several months but is set to start operations at the end of July with a new total strength of 8,700 troops.

Meanwhile, authorities in northern Cameroon have banned women from wearing full face-veils, known as niqabs, in order to prevent suicide bombers from disguising themselves as female. Some mosques and Islamic schools have reportedly been closed, and Muslims have been barred from meeting in large numbers out in public.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari will meet President President Paul Biya in Cameroon next Wednesday to discuss strengthening security ties between the two nations.

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