Cameroon gendarmes illegally cross into Nigeria in hunt for separatists

Scores of Cameroonian paramilitary forces – Gendarmes – are said to have crossed the international border between the country and Nigeria apparently as part of the fight against armed secessionists.

Nigeria’s Punch newspaper reported that over 80 Gendarmes on late Monday night (January 29, 2018) crossed into the Cross River State claiming that there were hunting for militants.

The invasion of the town of Danare is said to be the second such incursion after a similar one was reported by Reuters in October 2017. Danare is a town that hosts a significant number of Cameroonians fleeing the conflict in the Anglophone regions.

No Nigerian has been killed and as you know, this is an international issue which is being handled at the highest level of government.

The newspaper adds that the Gendarmes in December 2017 picked up five people in the town with claims that they were part of the armed wing of the Ambazonia Republic – a separatist group seeking independence from Cameroon.

Addressing the issue, Jude Ngaji, a security advisor of the Cross River State government said the matter was being handled at the federal level. The police in the state have yet to comment on the latest development.

“The issue has gone beyond the Police and the Nigerian Army has just deployed a battalion to the area. No Nigerian has been killed and as you know, this is an international issue which is being handled at the highest level of government,” Njagi is quoted to have said.

Nigeria and Cameroon have both suffered secessionist elements over the course of 2017. Nigeria has all but quelled the activities of pro-Biafra group IPOB, whose leader Nnamdi Kanu remains missing after a clash with the army last year.

Cameroon has since October 2017 been dogged by armed attacks on security officials by the armed wing of the Ambazonia separatists. Over a dozen security officials have been killed leading to an official declaration of war on the group by President Paul Biya.

Nigeria, as part of its security cooperation with Cameroon arrested and recently deported one of the main figures of the Ambazonia movement. Julius Ayuk Tabe was arrested at an Abuja hotel and is currently facing the judiciary in Yaounde.

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