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Cameroon deports 2,500 Nigerians in security measure against Boko Haram

The move follows suicide bombings last month in the city if Maroua that killed more than 30 people.

By Fred Lambert
Cameroon deports 2,500 Nigerians in security measure against Boko Haram
On July 30, 2015, Cameroon deported up to 2,500 Nigerians due to the risk they posed as Boko Haram suicide bombers, according to Nigerian media reports. Image from Google Maps

MAROUA, Cameroon, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- Cameroon is deporting more than 2,000 Nigerians as part of a measure to prevent suicide bombings by terrorist group Boko Haram, according to reports.

The move comes less than a week after Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari made his first official trip to Cameroon to meet with President Paul Biya and discuss strengthening security ties.

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Nigerian media reports up to 2,500 Nigerians living in Kousseri, in the far north of Cameroon, had been rounded up and sent back to their country on Thursday.

Vanguard quoted a source close to regional authorities who said "more than 2,000 'irregular' Nigerians have been expelled from Kousseri."

RELATED Nigerian army: 178 freed from Boko Haram

Mey Aly, an official from a local NGO, told Vanguard most of those deported had fled from Boko Haram attacks and taken refuge in Cameroon.

Last month, Cameroon deployed an additional 2,000 troops to its northern border with Nigeria following three suicide attacks that killed more than 30 people in the northern town of Maroua, where the Cameroonian military bases its operations against Boko Haram.

Witnesses say the bombers were teenage girls. Several suicide bombings in Nigeria and the surrounding region have been attributed to young female bombers, and Cameroonian authorities recently banned women from wearing full face-veils, known as niqabs, in order to prevent potential attackers from disguising themselves.

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Some mosques and Islamic schools in Cameroon have reportedly been closed, and Muslims have been barred from meeting in large numbers out in public.

The deportations come one day after the Nigerian army announced it freed 178 captives of Boko Haram -- including 101 children, 67 women and 10 men -- near the town of Bama, Nigeria, and two days after the Nigerian Air Force ran close air support for Nigerian ground troops defending the village of Bita, repelling a Boko Haram assault.

An 8,700-strong multinational joint task force comprising troops from Chad, Benin, Niger, Cameroon and Nigeria is set for operations against the insurgents after months of delays, a military commander told Vanguard last week.

Since 2009, terrorist group Boko Haram has waged war seeking an Islamic state in Nigeria.

Amnesty International reported in June at least 17,000 people had been killed in northeastern Nigeria since the conflict began eight years ago.

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