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Cameroon’s Military Deployed as Boko Haram Threat Rises


Northern Cameroon

Northern Cameroon

The central African nation of Cameroon is taking steps to guard against attacks from Boko Haram militants. The government has deployed troops to all major towns to search people, goods, businesses and even private homes. Now, Cameroonians of all ages are learning to deal with the increased security.

A soldier gives search orders at the main train station in Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde. It is the first time railroad passengers have been asked to line up and pass through a metal detector. If no metal object is found, they are free to continue moving and get on their train.

Susan Ngam is a member of the armed forces. She says the government deployed her and other soldiers to towns across the country after four Boko Haram suicide bombings last month.

"Here we search everybody. We search the customers, we search the employers."

Businessman Emmanuel Ngufor is travelling to northern Cameroon. He admits the increased security has led to delays. But he welcomes the effort.

"It is for our security. We can never tell judging from the looks of people. So it may be inconveniencing but in as much as we know that it is for our good, it is worth it."

Last month, about 60 Cameroonians were killed along the border with the Nigerian state of Borno. Nigeria is home to Boko Haram supporters. The militants used female suicide bombers in the four bombings.

Bernard Okalia Bilai is the governor of Cameroon’s South West Region. He says the government has called for increased security all over the country.

"In the church, in the market, if you suspect a face, don’t hesitate to ask the man who he is without any provocation, without any threat, without any violence."

Defense Minister Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo’o says he has urged business people, schools and churches to employ private security agents. He says security forces have been working hard, but they need the support of every Cameroonian. He says everyone should be educated to help in fighting Boko Haram until the group has left Cameroon. He says the country will only develop a healthy economy when there is peace.

Boko Haram was founded in northern Nigeria. It has threatened to attack Cameroon because the country supports the Nigerian military's campaign to defeat the group.

I’m Bob Doughty.

Reporter Moki Edwin Kindzeka wrote this story for VOANews.com. George Grow adapted it for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

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Words in This Story

detector – n. a device or instrument designed to recognize the presence of something

customers – n. people who buy goods or services from a business

inconveniencing – v. causing trouble or difficulty to

church – n. a Christian religious group or a place where Christians meet

hesitate – v. to delay before saying or doing something

provocation – n. an action that is designed to make someone angry

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