Cameroon Closes Down Cattle Market as Militants Turn to Rustling

August 29, 2016 09:49 PM

Cameroon shut down the biggest cattle market in the Far North region because suspected Boko Haram militants are seen trading stolen livestock to finance weapons and food.

The closing of Meme in Mayo-Sava, where a double bombing in February killed 24 people, came as authorities believe the Islamist group is poised to resume attacks in the region, Governor Midjiyawa Bakari said by phone on Monday. Four people were killed and two seriously injured on Aug. 21 after a suspected militant detonated explosives outside the main market in the town of Mora.

“They have established a cattle-theft and sales network in the area which we must urgently dismantle,” Bakari said. “It’s obvious that the money generated from such sales is helping Boko Haram to buy food at the same market, and also guns from elsewhere.”

The Far North region witnessed at least 200 attacks, including nearly 40 bombings that killed at least 480 people since July 2015, Amnesty International said last month. The insurgents carried out the first such attack in Cameroon on July 12, 2015, in Fotokol, killing 13 civilians and two soldiers.

Cameroon’s defense force arrested 63 people during an overnight raid in Mora on Saturday, Bakari said. Most of those arrested were displaced persons without identification papers or people in possession of dangerous weapons, he said.

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