Nigerian militants of the Islamist Boko Haram group attacked Kolofata, a town inside neighboring Cameroon Sunday, reportedly seizing the wife of Cameroonian Vice Prime Minister Amadou Ali.
"The situation is very critical here now,” Colonel Felix Nji Formekong, a commander of Cameroon’s army, told Reuters. "Some of them [Boko Haram militants] have already taken away the wife of Vice Prime Minister Ahmadou Ali and her house help while the bodyguards of the vice prime minister have succeeded in taking him out of the town to Mora."
Boko Haram has carried out two attacks inside Cameroon since Friday. The Nigerian government says it believes Boko Haram wants to gain a foothold in Cameroon, which is west of Nigeria. Cameroonian President Paul Biya has deployed about 1,000 soldiers to the area.
Ali previously served as Cameroon’s justice minister before ascending to his current position in 2004 under Biya, who has served as Cameroon’s president since 1982.
Boko Haram is an Islamist militant organization founded in 2002 that seeks to turn Africa’s second largest economy into an Islamic state. The U.S. State Department last year classified Boko Haram a terrorist organization. Earlier this year the group kidnapped about 200 Nigerian school girls, sparking a global outcry.
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Last week, the Nigerian government said it uncovered a plot to bomb the capitol city of Abuja transport network.