Boko Haram
Boko Haram militantsReuters file photo

The Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram has stepped up its attacks in neighbouring Cameroon abducting a top politician's wife.

Apart from the wife of Cameroon's vice prime minister Amadou Ali, several others, including a local mayor have been kidnapped by the militants.

"The situation is very critical here now, and as I am talking to you the Boko Haram elements are still in Kolofata town in a clash with our soldiers," said Cameroon's senior military official Colonel Felix Nji Formekong.

"Some of them have already taken away the wife of vice prime minister Ahmadou Ali and her house help while the bodyguards of the vice prime minister have succeeded in taking him out of the town to Mora."

The militants stormed the deputy premier's house during a dawn attack. When they could not find the politician as he was away for a Ramadan feast, the insurgents abducted his wife.

The Nigerian Islamists have increased their attacks in Cameroon in recent weeks.

Some local unconfirmed reports suggest Ali's brother has been killed in the attack.

Cameroon's far north region, which has about four million residents, is located adjacent to the Boko Haram stronghold in Nigeria.

Cameroonian military spokesperson told the news agency IRIN recently: "Attacks are still common [in the far north Region] because the war is not won in Nigeria. It is difficult to lead a major operation against Boko Haram due to the fact that they are 'invisible'. So the strategy of the military is to secure major points such as the border posts, bridges, villages and military bases."

"We cannot put security on every kilometre or area in the region. Boko Haram may have 100 percent advantage over the traditional military style because we don't know their base, how they look like, how many they are and what direction they will come from. They use both vehicles and motorcycles and have a good mastery of the border communities. They use some of the local population to operate in Cameroon."