Last week, Cameroon sent some 1,000 troops to its border with Nigeria in an effort to combat Boko Haram, which has increased its activity along the poorly defended border. In an email interview, Uyo Salifu, a researcher for the Institute of Security Studies’ transnational threats and international crime division, explained the state of border security cooperation between Nigeria and Cameroon.
WPR: How tightly does Cameroon control its border with Nigeria?
Uyo Salifu: Nigeria and Cameroon share a vast border, which spans 1,050 miles. Cameroon has made some efforts to enhance border security, but there is room for improvement. Cameroonian authorities have been working with local border communities to limit transborder crime. However, due to the sheer length of the border, effective control over the entire border region requires the use of sophisticated technology and well-trained border security personnel. That Boko Haram has been able to thrive in the Sambisa forest, which is close to Nigeria’s border with Cameroon, and carry out attacks in Cameroon itself, indicates that there is a need for better border security. Strong surveillance and human intelligence would at the very least limit the freedom and audacity with which the group has been able to operate in that area.