Four soldiers killed in Cameroon helicopter crash

Yaounde, Centre, CameroonUpdated: Jan 23, 2017, 02:52 AM IST

representative image Photograph:(AFP)

Four Cameroonian soldiers, including a general who was coordinating the fight against Nigerian Boko Haram Islamists, were killed Sunday in a helicopter crash, sources told AFP.

"We lost four men, including the general (Jacob Kodji)" and a colonel, a senior military official who is involved in the fight against Boko Haram told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The men were killed when the Cameroonian military helicopter they were travelling in crashed in Bogo region in the far north, said the official, without giving details of the cause of the accident.

"They were on a mission in Waza Park as part of an operation to battle Boko Haram," he said.

A local government official confirmed the deaths.

General Jacob Kodji was the leader of Emergence 4, the name given to one of the operations launched by Cameroon against Boko Haram.

As the fight against the Nigerian jihadists raged, Kodji was prompted in August 2015 to general by President Paul Biya. He is the first Cameroonian general to die in the battle against Boko Haram.

Boko Haram's brutal insurgency, launched in northern Nigeria in 2009, has spread across the border to Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

At least 20,000 people have been killed and some 2.6 million displaced in the violence.

Since Nigeria announced a key victory against Boko Haram jihadists in December, claiming the group had been routed from its Sambisa Forest bastion, its ally Cameroon had intensified operations along its northern border.