US troops mobilized to Cameroon

President Barack Obama formally notified Congress Oct. 14 that 90 US troops have been mobilized to Cameroon—the first contingent of a 300-strong force to assist in the struggle against Boko Haram. The force will conduct airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, but will not participate in ground combat operations (except in self-defense). Unarmed surveillance drones will also be deployed. The Pentagon said the move came at the invitation of Cameroon's government, which has been headed by strongman Paul Biya since 1982. Cameroon is part in a joint regional task force to fight Boko Haram along with Chad, Niger and Benin. (Foreign Policy, VOA, BBC News, AP, Oct. 14)

The announcement came one day after the latest in a wave of suicide attacks across northern Nigeria. Three bombs exploded in as many minutes in a suburb of Maiduguri, killing at least seven, all civilians. Suicide attacks in Nigeria ealier this month, including one at a mosque in Damaturu, have left over 30 dead. (AP, Oct. 14; Vanguard, Nigeria, Oct. 7)

Amnesty International says that Boko Haram has killed some 1,600 since June in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon. But Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari maintains that Boko Haram will be neutralized within the country's territory by year's end. Buhari reiterated this boast in an Oct. 14 meeting with US Africa Command chief Gen. Da­vid Rodriguez, who in turn pledged greater support for the counterinsurgency effort. (The Sun, Nigeria, Oct. 15)

  1. Nigeria: dozens dead in Maiduguri mosque blasts

    At least 30 were killed in two explosions at a mosque near the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri. One suicide bomber detonated an explosive inside the mosque in the suburb of Mulai. A second suicide bomber struck as people tried to escape. (BBC News)