Fighters from Nigeria’s Islamist militant group Boko Haram attacked a military base in northern Cameroon on Monday, as the West African country hosted a meeting of regional leaders to discuss combating the expanding insurgency.
Troops at the Waza base fought off the Boko Haram militants, Minister of Communication Issa Tchiroma Bakary said by phone from the capital, Yaounde. Bakary added that unconfirmed reports suggested two soldiers were killed, while army spokesman Lt. Col. Didier Badjeck said four soldiers were wounded.
“There was fierce fighting at the military base, but our troops have repelled and killed many Boko Haram militants in the gun battle,” Bakary said.
Boko Haram has expanded its six-year-old insurgency in Africa’s biggest economy to neighboring countries, including Cameroon, Chad and Niger. The attack occured as representatives from the Economic Community of Central African States met and agreed to contribute $86 million to fight the militants.
At least 1,600 people died in Boko Haram attacks in January, Bath, U.K.-based risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft, said in a Feb. 11 report. The militants killed more than 4,700 last year, double the number in 2013, according to the consultancy.
Muslims are “paying the highest price” as victims of the rebels’ attacks, Cameroonian President Paul Biya said at the start of the meeting.