Boko Haram kidnaps wife of top politician in Cameroon as cross-border attacks increase

The deputy Prime Minister escaped the attack in Kolofata

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The Independent Online

Boko Haram is believed to be behind the kidnapping of Cameroon’s deputy Prime Minister’s wife.

At least three people were killed in the attack on Sunday involving 200 militants in Kolofata, near the border with Nigeria.

Cameroonian officials said the home of Amadou Ali, the deputy Prime Minister, came under a “savage attack from Boko Haram” and his wife, who was not named, was taken.

The family were at home celebrating Ramadan at the time and security officials managed to take the deputy Prime Minister to safety in a neighbouring town.

A local religious leader, or lamido, named Seini Boukar Lamine, who is also the town's mayor, and five members of his family were also kidnapped in a separate attack on his home.

Boko Haram has not yet claimed responsibility but officials in Cameroon immediately blamed the Islamist group, following a string of cross-border attacks in recent weeks.

A spokesman for Cameroon’s government said the army later took control of Kolofata back from the militants, who had used “brutal and unqualified violence”.

The death toll of the invasion had not been counted.

Cameroon has deployed troops to its northern regions, which borders Boko Haram’s heartland in the north-east of Nigeria, to combat the insurgency.

In April, the group kidnapped almost 300 girls from a school in Chibok and a leader was later filmed claiming they should have been married and that God had told them to sell them as slaves.

Sunday's attack was the third Boko Haram attack in Cameroon since Friday. At least four soldiers were killed in the two previous incursions.

More than 20 suspected militants from the group who had been held in the city of Maroua since March were sentenced to prison sentences ranging from 10 to 20 years on Friday.

Bomb attacks and shootings in Nigeria have killed thousands of people since 2010 and have rapidly increased in frequency this year.

On Sunday, a bomb attack on a Catholic church in northern Nigeria's main city of Kano killed five people and wounded eight, a senior police officer said.

Christian churches have been a favourite target for the militants, who reject anything seen as “Western” and want to establish an Islamic state.

Additional reporting by Reuters