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Cameroon Claims to have killed at least 60 Boko Haram fighters and Freed 5,000 Captives

Boko Haram's six-year insurgency has killed more than 25,000 people and displaced nearly 2.3 million, according to rights groups and the United Nations

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FILE - Cameroonian soldiers from the Rapid Intervention Brigade stand guard amidst dust kicked up by a helicopter in Kolofata, Cameroon, March 16, 2016.
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Cameroon says it has killed at least 60 Boko Haram fighters and destroyed a stronghold for the militant group, as well as a huge stock of seized weapons, in fighting along its northern border.

Issa Tchiroma Bakary, Cameroon minister of communication and a government spokesperson, said, since January 26, thousands of Cameroon soldiers, supported by Nigerian troops, have launched raids on Boko Haram strongholds in the Mandara mountains, freeing more than 5,000 people, including women and children, from captivity.

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Issa Tchiroma said at least 60 terrorists have been killed since the offensive began in late January.

More than 20 suspects have been arrested and are helping the Cameroon and Nigerian militaries in their investigations, he added. He also said troops have destroyed a refuge center for the insurgents in the Mandara highlands, a petroleum depot and an explosives factory, as well as the residence of a Boko Haram leader, which also served as a hideout for the terrorists, and a huge consignment of weapons, vehicles and motorcycles.

Issa Tchiroma said at least 5,000 people were freed, including the elderly. They were transported to a camp for displaced people in the Nigerian town of Banki and are receiving treatment from both Cameroon and Nigerian military health workers, he said.

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No soldiers were killed in the offensive, Issa Tchiroma said.

In December last year, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari announced troops had chased Boko Haram militants out of their key remaining base in the Sambisa forest, another former stronghold that straddles Cameroon’s border with Nigeria.

Cameroon and Nigeria that same month reopened the border between the two countries for the first time in three years.

Cameroon has since called for vigilance and collaboration between its military and the population, stating that the insurgents had resorted to large-scale suicide bombings as their firepower had been greatly reduced.

Boko Haram’s six-year insurgency has killed more than 25,000 people and displaced nearly 2.3 million, according to rights groups and the United Nations. (VOA)

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Nigerian Firm Apologizes for Google’s Glitch

Main One, which describes itself as a leading provider of telecom and network services for businesses in West Africa, said that it had investigated the matter.

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A Google logo is seen at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA

Nigeria’s Main One Cable took responsibility Tuesday for a glitch that temporarily caused some Google global traffic to be misrouted through China, saying it accidentally caused the problem during a network
upgrade.

The issue surfaced Monday afternoon as internet monitoring firms ThousandEyes and BGPmon said some traffic to Alphabet’s Google had been routed through China and Russia, raising concerns that the communications had been intentionally hijacked.

Main One said in an email that it had caused a 74-minute glitch by misconfiguring a border gateway protocol filter used to route traffic across the internet. That resulted in some Google traffic being sent through Main One partner China Telecom, the West African firm said.

Google has said little about the matter. It acknowledged the problem Monday in a post on its website that said it was investigating the glitch and that it believed the problem originated outside the company. The company did not say how many users were affected or identify specific customers.

Google, Main One
Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during a news conference in New Delhi. VOA

Google representatives could not be reached Tuesday to comment on Main One’s statement.

Hacking concerns

Even though Main One said it was to blame, some security experts said the incident highlighted concerns about the potential for hackers to conduct espionage or disrupt communications by exploiting known vulnerabilities in the way traffic is routed over the internet.

The U.S. China Economic and Security Review Commission, a Washington group that advises the U.S. Congress on security issues, plans to investigate the issue, said Commissioner Michael Wessel.

“We will work to gain more facts about what has happened recently and look at what legal tools or legislation or law enforcement activities can help address this problem,” Wessel said.

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A Google logo is displayed at the entrance to the internet based company’s offices in Toronto. VOA

Glitches in border gateway protocol filters have caused multiple outages to date, including cases in which traffic from U.S. internet and financial services firms was routed through Russia, China and Belarus.

Yuval Shavitt, a network security researcher at Tel Aviv University, said it was possible that Monday’s issue was not an accident.

Also Read: Google Investigating The Root Cause Of its Malfunction

“You can always claim that this is some kind of configuration error,” said Shavitt, who last month co-authored a paper alleging that the Chinese government had conducted a series of internet hijacks.

Main One, which describes itself as a leading provider of telecom and network services for businesses in West Africa, said that it had investigated the matter and implemented new processes to prevent it from happening again. (VOA)