Islamists decapitate 3 Cameroon villagers

YAOUNDÉ: Security forces have found the decapitated bodies of three villagers kidnapped in northern Cameroon by Boko Haram Islamists, local government officials said Sunday.

The three men had been snatched on Friday, along with a woman who remains missing, from the village of Tolkomari some 10km from the border with Nigeria’s Borno state, a longtime stronghold of Boko Haram.

“The remains of three men, decapitated … were found Saturday in the bush near (Tolkomari),” one high-ranking official told AFP, requesting anonymity and blaming the atrocity on Boko Haram.

The Nigeria-based Islamist group has stepped up deadly attacks and kidnappings in the Lake Chad region where northern Cameroon converges with Nigeria, Niger and Chad.

The bodies were found during an operation against Boko Haram by the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) comprising troops from Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin, the official said.

“Villagers who suffer regular attacks by Boko Haram and are more familiar with the area” where the group operates helped the MNJTF in the search, he said.

On Wednesday, Boko Haram militants kidnapped 17 children and youths, aged 11 to 20, some 60km further south, in Mbreche, near the Far North regional capital Maroua, police and local officials said.

They remain missing.

Since 2014, Cameroon says Boko Haram has carried out nearly 13,000 attacks on its territory, claiming “several thousand” lives.

The insurgency has forced more than 250,000 people to flee their homes as well as trigger an influx of 60,000 Nigerian refugees.