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Authorities in Cameroon say a helicopter fighting the Boko Haram insurgency has crashed on the border with Nigeria, killing six people including the commander of this central African nation’s troops.


The a top general in charge of Cameroon’s fight against Islamist militant group Boko Haram died in the crash on a patrol mission, the government said on Monday.

Midjiyawa Bakari, governor of the far north region of Cameroon, confirmed that General Jacob Kodji died on Sunday evening near the village of Bogo while on an inspection mission. Three other top officials and two crew members also died.

The crash happened on Sunday evening in the Bogo district of the Far North region, where Cameroonian troops and a regional task force have been fighting the Islamist group for two years.

A multinational force has been fighting Boko Haram extremists who have expanded their deadly insurgency beyond Nigeria and into neighboring countries in the Lake Chad region.

General Jacob Kodji was commander of the 4th joint military region and head of a counter-Boko Haram unit called Operation Emergence 4. Three other officers also died in the crash, the cause of which was unknown, the government said in a statement.

Boko Haram is based in northern Nigeria and launches frequent cross-border raids in a bid to carve out an Islamic caliphate. Its eight-year insurgency has killed more than 15,000 and displaced two million people in the Lake Chad region.

Boko Haram’s six-year insurgency in North-eastern Nigeria has led to the death of some 20,000 people, destroyed more than 1,000 schools and displaced more than 2 million people.

The insurgency has kept about one million children out of school in Nigeria, forcing more than two million people to flee their homes, particularly in the three neighbouring states, according to the UN children’s agency.

Boko Haram has frequently targeted crowded areas — such as markets, places of worship and refugee camps — in suicide bomb attacks across northeast Nigeria and in neighboring Cameroon and Niger.

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