Cameroon detains alleged arms dealers

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Yaounde -

Cameroon said on Thursday it had arrested three suspected arms dealers believed to be linked to Nigeria's militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

The men were caught in the far north of the country on Wednesday, near the border with Nigeria where the group has been waging a brutal armed insurgency.

“Members of the BIR (an elite rapid-response unit of Cameroon's army) and the police found a significant stock of arms including a Kalashnikov and rocket launchers near Goulfey,” a Cameroonian police official told AFP, on condition of anonymity.

He did not state where the men were from, although he said the arms had come from Chad.

“Three suspects were taken in for questioning, suspected of being among the arms traffickers that supply Boko Haram,” he said. “The stock of weapons was sizeable, and we think the plan was to bring them through Cameroon before taking them to Nigeria.”

Both the weapons and the men were taken to Maroua, the regional capital, a source close to the town's administration said.

Boko Haram is fighting a bloody insurgency in the majority-Muslim north of Nigeria, with the National Emergency Management Agency saying this week that more than 1 000 people have been killed in the violence so far this year.

Some of the group's fighters are thought to have fled to neighbouring Cameroon since the Nigerian army launched an offensive in May last year.

Nigeria recently appealed to its neighbours for help in trying to eradicate the group.

Already this month, six suspected fighters and one Cameroonian soldier have been killed in clashes after Boko Haram infiltrated into neighbouring Cameroon. - Sapa-AFP


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