By Olanrewaju Oyedeji
With plans by President Muhammadu Buhari to travel to neighbouring Cameroon Wednesday for talks with President Paul Biya on combatting the regional threat from Boko Haram, analysts are wondering whether it is indeed that central African nation which has had a very long and sustained love-hate relationship with Africa’s most populous nation that indeed holds the key to resolving the increasingly expanding insurgency.
“President Buhari is going to Cameroon on Wednesday. He will hold talks with President Biya on arrival on Wednesday and the issue of Boko Haram will be central in their discussion,” presidential spokesperson Femi Adesina disclosed recently.
Boko Haram attacks in Chad, Cameroon and Niger have claimed dozens of lives in the past weeks.
The visit to Cameroon “aims to build a strong regional alliance to confront Boko Haram,” another spokesperson for Buhari, Garba Shehu, told AFP.
Shehu declined to give details on the deployment of regional troops, but insisted it “will still be at the end of this month.”
Given the fact that Cameroon had all along been involved in the crisis and that in the past, Islamists like the late Muhammed Marwa, and the maitatsine sect that he had led, had indeed had very strong tentacles in that nation, analysts had been puzzled that President Buhari had left out Cameroon in his initial post-inauguration shuttle-stops to affected and partnering neighbouring states. As if to put the snub in perspective, the President of Cameroon was himself absent at a follow up summit held in Abuja days after the shuttle visits.
Meanwhile, sources say Cameroon plans to send an additional 2000 soldiers to its Far North region after three suicide bomb attacks in regional capital Maroua in the past week by suspected members of the sect.