Five jihadists, two soldiers killed in Cameroon clash

Five jihadists, two soldiers killed in Cameroon clash

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Two soldiers were killed early Tuesday when jihadists crossing from Nigeria attacked a military position in northern Cameroon, sources said, while seven other soldiers were injured in a mine blast in the same village.

It was not possible to know immediately which -- if any -- fighter groups had laid the mine or what time on Tuesday it went off.

It exploded when the soldiers' vehicle was passing, according to an army colonel.

Both the explosion and the overnight attack took place at Soueram, close to the Nigerian border in Cameroon's Far North region, the colonel and a local official told AFP.

"Two Cameroonian soldiers were killed" in the overnight assault, while five jihadists died in the counter-attack, the colonel said.

He attributed the attack to Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), a splinter group of Nigeria's Boko Haram, which has led a bloody 11-year campaign against perceived western influence.

An army vehicle was destroyed and the jihadists made off with a piece of heavy weaponry, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A local leader, who also asked not to be identified, confirmed the attack and the toll, adding that there were no civilian casualties.

The Far North is an impoverished tongue of land that lies between Chad to the east and Nigeria to the west.

The province has been hit since 2014 by jihadists making incursions from northeast Nigeria.

The Boko Haram campaign has killed more than 27,000 people since 2009, several thousand of them in Cameroon, and displaced more than two million, sparking a dire humanitarian crisis in the Lake Chad region.

According to Amnesty International, at least 275 people were killed in the Far North last year.

Boko Haram split into two factions in 2016 -- a historic branch led by Abubakar Shekau, and a splinter faction, ISWAP, which has claimed loyalty to the so-called Islamic State group.

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