World Bulletin / News Desk
Boko Haram insurgents from Nigeria bombed a Niger border town, killing five people, and carried out attacks in neighbouring Cameroon, kidnapping a bus full of passengers, military and local sources said on Monday.
An intensification of attacks near Lake Chad - a crossroads between Nigeria, Chad, and Niger - has sent tens of thousands of Nigerians fleeing across the borders. The escalating crisis prompted Nigeria to postpone its Feb. 14 presidential election.
Boko Haram militants stormed a prison in Diffa overnight and set off a car bomb near a customs office in the town, shortly before Niger's parliament was due to ratify participation in the regional offensive, witnesses said. Five people were killed in the bomb explosion and five others seriously injured, Niger security sources said.
Heavy gunfire carried on through the day as Niger's army repelled the assault, Boko Haram's third on Diffa in four days. A member of the national guard said about 100 suspected Boko Haram militants were in prison in Niger, but none in Diffa.
"We will defeat Boko Haram. Boko Haram has no future in this region," Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou told reporters on Monday in the capital Niamey. Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama said in Niamey on Monday that other African countries would offer solidarity to states affected by Boko Haram.
Authorities ordered locals to stay in their homes and mounted roadblocks around Diffa by late morning. But residents and humanitarian officials said thousands of people were fleeing from the town in cars and motorbikes.
Sending troops to Nigeria
"The pooling of the efforts and resources of concerned countries will contribute without doubt to crushing this group which shows scorn, through its barbaric acts, for the Muslim religion," parliamentary speaker Adamou Salifou said after the vote late on Monday.
It was supported by all 102 deputies present.
In Cameroon, suspected Boko Haram militants attacked the northern village of Kerawa on Sunday and kidnapped at least 18 people travelling on a bus near Adanga Danga, military sources said. One said there were 30 people on board the missing bus.
Military sources in the two countries said troops had killed at least a dozen of its fighters in two days of fighting.
A video seen by Reuters on Monday appears to show Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau mocking the plans for a regional military intervention. "This message is for the people and leaders of Africa. You cannot defeat us ... Sit back and rethink. Is your constitution and democracy better than Islam?" he said.Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Şubat 2015, 10:48