Six siblings kidnapped from Moskota in the Far North region of Cameroon on 17 August have been found near the border with Nigeria by a group of vigilantes.
A local source told World Watch Monitor that the children, between the ages of three and 15, had been taken to Nigeria, where they were entrusted to the care of a woman. They managed to escape when the woman fell asleep early one evening. Using the light of the moon, they were able to find a track that led them to an area close to their home. At dawn they reached Mayo, a small dried-up stream on the border, where the vigilantes found them.
They were taken to military headquarters in Mora for investigations and then went on to a health centre for a medical check-up. It is not known if the children have been reunited with their mother yet.
The children were kidnapped from Moskota village during a night raid carried out by Boko Haram on 17 August, during which their father, Adamu Nguda, was killed and their mother left behind in a state of total shock. Nguda was a church elder in Mouldougwa before the family became displaced and moved to Moskota.
Nigeria-based Boko Haram started carrying out attacks over the border in Cameroon’s Far North in 2013.
The violence worsened after President Paul Biya vowed in May 2014 to “declare war” on the group. In response, the jihadists launched an offensive against army positions and several other locations, causing great damage to local populations, especially the churches.
In 2015, the group embarked on suicide attacks – half of which were performed by children – that claimed the lives of many civilians and injured scores more.
According to the UNHCR, the Boko Haram insurgency has caused more than 170,000 people in the Far North Region to flee their homes, while the area has received at least 73,000 Nigerian refugees escaping the jihadists’ attacks at home, although many of them have started to return to Nigeria since last year. A great number of the displaced are Christians.