In Cameroon Boko Haram Is Preached As A Religion

The authorities and well-meaning peoples of Nigeria are yet worried about
stopping the trashy activities of the Islamic sect popularly known and
called Boko Haram in the country, but the sect is concerned about
recruiting as many youths as possible in Cameroon into accepting the sect
activities as a religion.

As the sect holds influence in the North-East of Nigeria since 1999 killing
over 4,000 people and damaging property worth millions of naira, government
officials in Cameroon are worried that the apparent activities of the sect
in Cameroon’s Far North Region is becoming bothersome.

This is coming barely a fortnight the Ghanaian former President Jerry John
Rawlings reportedly disclosed at the 70th birthday of Nigeria’s former
Foreign Affairs Minister, Chief Tom Ikimi in Igueben, Edo State that,
Nigeria should not be somnolent in the fight against Boko Haram, but
suggested that tactful measures in the fight would benefit.

>From Rawlings’ comment, it has become incommodious that Boko Haram might
take over the continent of Africa if urgent measures are not taken and
earnestly put in place to curb the activities of the group. After Nigeria,
the fight against the dreaded sect without doubt has also become a thorn in
the flesh of Cameroon as over 200 suspected Boko Haram members have been
arrested in that country and were later set free for what authorities said
was because of lack of adequate evidence to prosecute the arrested.

When this reporter made a journey of Lake Chad through Maiduguri recently,
a young man who introduced himself to this reporter as Adamu and warned
that pictures of him should not be taken, said that his worry in the
country (Cameroon) is that members of the Islamic sect are preaching about
their activities as a religion and not as terrorism.

“I can conveniently tell you that youths in our country Cameroon are being
indoctrinated into belieiving that Boko Haram is a religion and not a
terrorism organization. Many youths who refused to accept the volatile
teachings of the group are missing today. Few of them who narrowly escaped
from their captors narrated their ordeals, saying that they were being
given military training in undisclosed areas so that they would be deployed
to fight in Nigeria,” the source said.

It was also noted that in Mayo-Sava area and Mora District in Far North
Region of Cameroon the residents are apprehensive of the surge of the sect
in their areas. When this reporter questioned his informant if he was aware
of the news making the rounds that Boko Haram preachers are going around
the areas luring youths with monetary promises that they would be rich and
better Muslims if they become Boko Haram members, he did not waste time to
affirm the suspicion:

“I’ve heard of a thing like that. I also know that Boko Haram members are
now dreaded in Cameroon like a scourge because their offer to the
unsuspecting youths is tempting. I’ve noted that some parents give out
their children to join the sect so that ‘they could become rich and better
Muslims than they were.”

Investigations revealed that Boko Haram members do not waste time to send
back any injured youth that was training in their camps back home, although
blind-folded, perhaps to avert a trace of their training camp. According to
sources, Boko Haram preachers kidnap young Cameroonians and take them to
Nigeria for training.

Some of the affected youths were noted to be those from Banki, Kolofata and
Ngeshawa in Cameroon. Apart from the so-called military training that the
preachers give to their victims, they also preach the ‘favourable’ side of
the Koran that invariably promote violence and tell them that they are
fighting a ‘just’ fight to defend the Muslim faith.

A government official interviewed who spoke under anonymity for the fear
that he might be attacked should he give his name, said: “I’m not too sure
that Cameroonian youths are being preached into accepting Boko Haram as a
religion, but I cannot rule out the fact that it might be truth since
Nigeria and Cameroon share common ethnic and cultural affinities. This is
exemplified in the Cameroon’s Far North and Nigeria’s North-East. It is a
common knowledge that these areas share not only semblance of culture, but,
also, speak the same language.”

According to sources, many of the youths who joined the Boko
Haram-initiated Islamic school have not been seen by their family members
since 2012 they were declared ‘missing’. Whether they are alive or dead, no
one could give an account of their whereabouts. All the hope of the
affected families is that the ‘missing’ persons are with Boko Haram and are
expected to come back in the event that they are alive, better Muslims and

Asked why the group is in the Cameroon’s Far North; it was gathered that
the neo-presence of Boko Haram members in the villages neighbouring
North-Eastern Nigeria was not unconnected with the May 2013 offensive that
was launched by the Nigerian military that invariably compelled the
surviving members of the group to look for safety in the neighbouring Far
North of Cameroon.

Notwithstanding, it was gathered that security officials in Cameroon are
doing everything within their reach to send the constituents of the group
packing from the country. According to an account credited to Emmanuel
Bob-Iga, head of the police division at the Far North governor’s office
said: “We strongly believe that Boko Haram has elements in Cameroon and the
authorities are doing everything possible to track them down.”

Written by
Odimegwu Onwumere
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