Cameroonian authorities have called on traditional and religious leaders in the country to assist in the fight against Boko Haram.
The Islamic militant group is reportedly working to enlist traditional and religious leaders in northern Cameroon to recruit new members for them amid continued military pressure on both sides of the border.
A Muslim religious leader, Abdouraman Ousman said members of the militant group kidnapped him from his home in Kerawa on the border with Nigeria last year, VOA reports.
Islamic and traditional leaders in Cameroon are being manipulated by Boko Haram fighters to convince naive, young people to join the terrorist group.
He said the group told him he could go home only if he would recruit for them, but he refused and was only freed in February during a raid by soldiers.
“Islamic and traditional leaders in Cameroon are being manipulated by Boko Haram fighters to convince naive, young people to join the terrorist group,” he said.
He noted that Boko Haram targets traditional rulers, not only for ransoms, but also to get them to help recruit new members.
Some Imams had returned to Cameroon and lied to young people telling them they will earn $500 per month if they joined the terror group and also try to trick youths into thinking they are joining the military.
The Islamic Council of Traditional Rulers and Muslim dignitaries had invited Ousman and about 200 other community leaders from the north to Yaounde to talk about how to counter Boko Haram’s influence.
According to a representative of the Islamic Council, Inoussa Assabe, the government needs the help of local leaders.
“They have to go toward the traditional rulers. Government has to come in and send security people who are not in uniform just to get investigations and know exactly what is going on,” he said.
The council said several religious and traditional leaders in the north of the country have been arrested on suspicion of working for Boko Haram.
According to the US military, the influence of the terrorist group in the past six years has resulted in the death of 15,000 people.
Nigeria and its neighbouring countries have united to stamp out Boko Haram.
Cameroon is part of an 8,700-strong regional force led by Nigeria to fight the militants.