DOUALA (Reuters) – Cameroon plans to send an additional 2,000 soldiers to its Far North region after three suicide bomb attacks in the regional capital Maroua in the past week by suspected members of the Boko Haram Islamist militant group, state radio said on Monday.
The move came after a raft of measures in recent days to tighten security in Maroua, including a ban on burqas, hawking and begging. Authorities in Cameroon’s main port of Douala have also banned burqas.
The government has also shut down some mosques and Islamic schools in the Far North and imposed a curfew on bars after 6 p.m. local time.
Defense Ministry spokesman Colonel Didier Badjeck confirmed a troop increase in the Far North but declined to provide further details.
“For security reasons, we cannot divulge the exact number of troops that will be deployed,” he told Reuters.
The central African nation has already deployed some 7,000 troops, alongside soldiers from Chad, Niger and Nigeria, to tackle Boko Haram’s six-year insurgency which has threatened the stability of the Lake Chad region.
The suicide bomb attacks in Maroua over the past week marked the deepest incursion by suspected Boko Haram militants into Cameroonian territory.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to hold talks with President Paul Biya on the insurgency during a two day visit to Cameroon that kicks off on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Josiane Kouagheu in Douala; Writing by Bate Felix)