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Suspected Boko Haram fighters 'abduct dozens in Cameroon raid'

Suspected fighters from the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram have kidnapped dozens of people during raids in northern Cameroon, officials say. Many of those abducted are said to be children.

Some 80 people were abducted on Sunday during a fresh cross-border attack by suspected Boko Haram fighters on villages in northern Cameroon, army and government officials said.

A senior army officer told Reuters news agency that the fighters took around 30 adults and some 50 children aged between 10 and 15 years. Government spokesman Issa Tchiroma Bakary said at least three people had also been killed in the attack, but put the number of those abducted at "between 30 and 50."

The Boko Haram group, based in Nigeria, killed thousands of people last year alone in its five-and-a-half-year campaign to establish an Islamic state in Africa. It has been recruiting fighters in neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

Last April, it seized more than 200 schoolgirls from the northeastern Nigerian town of Chibok, an abduction that drew international attention and outrage.

Sunday's attack on Cameroon comes three days after Cameroon President Paul Biya announced that Chad would send thousands of troops and equipment to help Cameroon's army repel the Islamist insurgents.

Nigerian attack

Also on Sunday, a suicide bomber in a car attacked a bus station in the northeastern Nigerian town of Potiskum, killing four people and wounding dozens of others.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the attack also bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram, which has carried out a number of deadly bombings in the town.

Fifteen people were killed during a Shiite religious procession in November 2014, and 58 more in a suicide bombing at a school a week later.

The Potiskum attack comes less than a month before a closely fought presidential election that will see President Goodluck Jonathan competing with former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari.

Jonathan has come under criticism both at home and abroad for his failure so far to put down the Boko Haram insurrection.

tj/gsw (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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