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Boko Haram attack 3 Cameroonian towns, 30 abducted

By EDWIN KINDZEKA MOKI
Associated Press

YAOUNDE, Cameroon (AP) - Suspected Boko Haram fighters launched attacks on three communities in northern Cameroon, abducting more than 30 people including those aboard a packed bus, residents said Monday.

The assaults by the Nigeria-based terror group came as other militants invaded a town in the neighboring country of Niger for the third time in recent days, underscoring the growing regional havoc being wracked by Boko Haram.

The militants have stepped up their attacks on neighboring countries as Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin pledge to send troops to help Nigeria squash the extremist group that has killed more than 10,000 people over the past year.

In northern Cameroon, the fighters seized a bus with 20 people aboard late Sunday in Koza and then drove it back toward the Nigerian border, some 11 miles (18 kilometers) away, resident Bouba Kaina told The Associated Press by telephone.

Early Monday, another group of fighters attacked the Cameroonian town of Kolofata, looting food and livestock. The town was recently retaken by Chadian troops who have been helping the Cameroonian military fight Boko Haram.

Boko Haram has taken on an increasingly regional dimension, with the extremists staging attacks in both Cameroon and Niger over the past week.

On Saturday, regional and African Union officials, meeting in Cameroon's capital, Yaounde, proposed a force of as many as 8,750 troops to combat Boko Haram, with soldiers coming from Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin.

Officials said the force could be deployed as early as next month, though funding issues could delay its launch.

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AP writer Dalatou Mamane contributed to this report from Niamey, Niger.

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