Cameroon authorities have arrested two suspected members of Nigerian group Boko Haram disguised as female refugees. The men, who were carrying explosives in their luggage, were stopped at the Minawao refugee camp in the north of the country, near the border with Nigeria.
Cameroon's government spokesman Issa Tchiroma Bakary said the men were arrested on Monday (3 August) and were being interrogated as the country deported some 3,000 Nigerian refugees who do not have identity cards and refuse to stay in refuge camps. Bakary also said authorities arrested a number of foreigners suspected of collaborating with Boko Haram, which has killed more than 13,000 people in northern Nigeria and neighbouring countries since its insurgency became violent in 2009.
Who are Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorists?
Boko Haram (recently renamed Iswap) fights against Western influence in Nigeria and aims to impose its version of Sharia law in the country.
The group declared an Islamic caliphate in Gwoza, along the Cameroon border, in August 2014.
Boko Haram has raided several cities in the north of the country in a bid to take control of more land.
Three states − Adamawa, Borno and Yobe − have been under a state of emergency since May 2013, due to Boko Haram's attacks.
The group has killed more than 3,000 people since the beginning of 2015.
Adamawa State Emergency Management Agency chairman Haruna Hamman Furo was quoted as saying some 12,000 Nigerians are expected to arrive from Cameroon. The arrests and deportation come as Cameroon announced it would send some 2,000 military reinforcements to the north, following deadly attacks blamed on Boko Haram that have left hundreds dead in recent weeks. The latest attack occurred on 4 August, when suspected Boko Haram members killed at least nine people and kidnapped another 100 during a raid in the village of Tchakarmari.
Cameroon is part of an ongoing regional offensive against the terrorists. In July, the Nigerian army announced a new task force – comprising troops from Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, Chad and Benin – is ready to take over the ongoing fight. The 8,700-strong force is expected to be more efficient then the current offensive. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari named Major General Iliya Abbah as head of the task force.
US President Barack Obama has also pledged more support to Nigeria in its fight against terrorism and corruption. The country also announced it is considering to lift a ban on arms sales to Nigeria after Buhari warned the restriction helps Boko Haram's insurgency.