Nigeria-based Boko Haram Islamists burnt several students and villagers alive in Cameroon just days before the multi-national African task force was set to begin their operations against the militants.
Local reports suggest at least nine pupils were burnt to death when the insurgents stormed the Kamouna village in northern Cameroon. The bodies of the children were later found in a bush. At least 23 people were killed in all during the attack.
The seven troops who were present when the militants struck the village were quickly overpowered. About 80 Islamists were said to be part of the attack on the village, which lies in the bordering region between Nigeria and Chad.
"They [security forces] began shooting in the air to scare the attackers," but to no avail, Pastor Edward Ngosu, who is in the village for four years, told the Associated Press.
Approximately 300 houses have been entirely burnt down by the Islamists, reported the L'oeil du sahel newspaper, which closely monitors the insurgents' activities in the region.
Villagers say they had asked the government to step up security for them after a nearby village was attacked by Boko Haram militants earlier.
African nations such as Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon are boosting their regional cooperation to combat the violence of Boko Haram, who recently pledged allegiance to the Iraqi-based Islamic State (Isis) group.