Boko Haram (“Western education is forbidden”) is leading an insurgency to create an Islamic state in the predominantly Muslim regions of northeastern Nigeria, and has extended its actions to Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Military operations have significantly weakened BH, but it continues to carry out attacks targeting civilians and armed forces in the region.? An estimated 1,000 people are active members of BH in Cameroon. ? BH is not in control of villages in Cameroon, but is allied with small local armed groups in the Mayo-Sava and Mayo-Tsanaga departments, which enable them to carry out small-scale armed attacks and looting. ?The increase in attacks in Cameroon observed since April 2017 may be explained by operations by Nigerian military, causing displacement of BH fighters from the Sambsia forest in Nigeria to the Mandara mountains in Cameroon. ?
Boko Haram split into two rival factions in August 2016. One is led by Abu Musab al Barnawi, named leader by the Islamic State (IS), while the other remains loyal to leader Abubaker Shekau, who was the leader before being ousted by IS. IS disavowed Shekau's factions' targeting of Muslims. Al Barnawi's faction is the most present in Cameroon.? Al Barnawi's faction operates mainly very close to Lake Chad and Logone et Chari, whereas Shekau's faction operates in Mayo-Tsanaga, Mayo-Sava and Logone et Chari. ?
Cameroonian Armed Forces
Cameroon has deployed troops in the Far North since 2014, when BH activities intensified. Operations have included air and ground offensives. The army has been accused of many human rights violations, including excessive force and enforced disappearances.? The Cameroonian Armed Forces conducted joint operations with armies of neighbouring countries against BH.
Multinational Joint Task Force
The Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF) is a coordination of armed forces around the Lake Chad region to combat insurgent armed groups based in N'Djamena, Chad. Since 2014, its main role has been to combat the BH insurgency in the Chad Lake region. ? It has 8,700 military and civilian personnel, including contingents from Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria. ??
Vigilante groups have been created both by the government and local populations in the Far North since July 2015. They have collaborated with the Cameroonian and Nigerian military.? ?They have been successful in stopping some BH attacks; however, they are also accused of having committed human rights violations and harrassment against minorities.? ?