World

Suspected Boko Haram bomb attack thwarted in Cameroon

Three young men were caught at the entrance of Maroua, a city decimated by two suicide explosions last week, after officials were made aware of another potential attack believed to be orchestrated by Boko Haram.

Security officials expel 2,000 Nigerians residing in country illegally after raids

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, left, greets Cameroon's President Paul Biya during a meeting Wednesday in Yaounde. The two countries have pledged to co-operate in their fight against Boko Haram. (Bayo Omoboriowo/Reuters)

Cameroon officials have arrested three suspects carrying a bag containing improvised explosive devices in the northern town of Maroua where a spate of suspected Boko Haram suicide attacks killed at least 40 last week, sources said Friday.

The men were caught Thursday evening at the entrance of the city following a tip-off, a senior military source with the country's special forces in Maroua told Reuters.

"The suspect who was carrying the bag with the explosives is a Nigerian. The other two are Cameroonians, according to their identity cards," another senior local government administrator said by telephone from Maroua.

He said the young men, all around 20 years old, were suspected Boko Haram militants who were planning another attack.

Cameroon has increased troops and tightened security in the northern regional capital following the suicide bombings, the deepest incursion by suspected Boko Haram militants from neighbouring Nigeria.

Cameroon security officials also carried out a raid Thursday in Kousseri, approximately 220 kilometres north of Maroua, where some 2,000 Nigerians who were living in Cameroon without permits were loaded in trucks and taken across the border.

A local administrator said the raid was part of measures aimed at improving security and controlling movements along the border region.

On Thursday, the leaders of Nigeria and Cameroon pledged to work together following a summit in Yaounde. The two countries aim to crush the six-year Boko Haram insurgency which has killed thousands, spread to neighbouring countries and threatens the stability of the Lake Chad region.

The extremist group, which calls itself the Islamic State's West Africa Province since pledging allegiance to the militant group that controls large areas of Syria and Iraq, is fighting to establish an emirate in northeast Nigeria.

Maroua was the site of two deadly explosions in Cameroon last week and security officials may have prevented another attack after receiving a tip. (Google)

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