BY LAWRENCE ETIM.
Nigeria has closed its northern border with Cameroon to block the movement of Boko Haram members who use the area as a launch-pad for attacks.
This is in a statement released on Sunday by the Nigerian military who claimed fighters have set up bases in sparsely populated areas of its north eastern neighbours Cameroon, Chad and Niger; and use them to flee across the border after staging attacks to avoid military pursuit.
The border closure extends from the northern Borno state, by Lake Chad, to the southern end of Adamawa state, one of three states in the northeast placed under emergency rule in May following waves of attacks by Boko Haram fighters.
The closure comes as suspected Boko Haram fighters stormed the mostly Christian village of Izghe in Borno state on Saturday, north of Adamawa, killing more than 100 people.
“What I did was completely seal off the borders, no going in, no going out,” Brigadier General Rogers Iben Nicholas, the top military commander in Adamawa said. The measures had been in place since Monday and had already curtailed “the influx of terrorist elements” into Nigeria.
Despite the state of emergency, Boko Haram has continued to carry out attacks in the northeast, with more than 300 people killed this year and thousands since 2009. On Wednesday, an attack by Boko Haram in Bama, some 60km from the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, killed 60 people.
The group’s leader Abubakar Shekhau has threatened to extend the insurgency to the oil-producing south by attacking the Niger Delta region.