Since the beginning of 2020, and specifically during the last three months, northern Cameroon has been witnessing a clear escalation in terrorist attacks carried out by Boko Haram’s militants. In many cases, these include horrific acts that have aroused panic within the Cameroonian society, such as torching homes, looting property, kidnapping some civilians and taking them hostages, in addition to laying mines. This reflects the great danger that the group has come to pose to the border areas in the Lake Chad region despite the efforts made by the military forces and the security services to fight that group in the countries that the group plans to target.
Northeast Nigeria has been the main stronghold of Boko Haram since its inception in 2002. The group focused on rejecting "Western" education and began military action in 2009 in order to overthrow the government and establish what it calls an "Islamic caliphate" in that region. With the passage of time, the group expanded its activities to include the countries overlooking Lake Chad, namely Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin, which contributed to strengthening the context of chaos, which is supported by other terrorist organisations such as the Islamic State (IS, Daesh) and al-Qaeda.
While the Boko Haram group has been subjected to blows by the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) that comprises ten thousand soldiers from the aforementioned countries, which was formed in 2015 to fight the group, in addition to the defections it faced from within, especially after its members pledged allegiance to the state of "West Africa Province" affiliated with the Islamic State, known in the media as "IS" (Daesh), the group continues to pose a serious security threat in the Lake Chad region, including Cameroon.
Rise of Boko Haram’s attacks
There have been numerous indications of an increase in terrorist operations carried out by Boko Haram in northern Cameroon during 2020, the most prominent of which are the following:
This increasing activity is an extension of terrorist attacks carried out by the group in the past five years. In this context, the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) issued by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) in 2019 indicated that Cameroon ranked fifteenth in the world as the country most affected by the threat of terrorism, up one place from the previous year.
Implications for security and stability in the Lake Chad region
According to current indications, the Boko Haram terrorist group is likely to continue to escalate its operations and attacks aimed at causing chaos in the Lake Chad region, including northern Cameroon, exploiting the preoccupation of African governments in dealing with the second wave of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the escalating internal tensions between the regimes and opposition powers, and the effects of the stressful economic conditions, to launch more attacks. The group is also expected to continue diversifying its terrorist operations in order to terrorise citizens by targeting the army, police and civilians in the countries of the region and attracting new fighters from the refugee camps, voluntarily or by force. It will also continue its efforts to take revenge on the army forces in particular because they are concerned with confronting the group’s activities and weakening its capabilities. The threat continues to exist, especially in light of mutual escalation.
 Exploiting Disorder: al Qaeda and the Islamic state, International Crisis Group, Special Report No. 1, March 2016. https://www.crisisgroup.org/global/exploiting-disorder-al-qaeda-and-islamic-state
 See: Ntuda Ebode Joseph Vincent, Mark Bolak Funteh, Mbarakoutou Mahamat Henri, Nkalwo Ngoula Joseph Léa, “The Boko Haram Conflict in Cameroon: Why is peace so elusive?”, New Approaches to Collective Security, Fredrich Ebert Stiftung, 2017. https://library.fes.de/pdf-files/bueros/fes-pscc/14200.pdf
 “Cameroon: 7 civilians killed in a suicide bombing”, skynewsarabia, 4 September 2020. Available at: https://www.skynewsarabia.com/world/1373578
 “18 civilians killed in a Boko Haram attack in northern Cameroon”, alroeya, 3 August 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/2GgAG7y
 “Seven civilians killed by suicide bombers from Boko Haram in Cameroon”, mc-doualiya, 6 April 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/2EANO7j
 “Terrorist Boko Haram carries out a new series of attacks in Cameroon”, Saudi Press Agency (SPA), 17 February 2020. Available at: https://www.spa.gov.sa/viewstory.php?lang=ar&newsid=2035563
 See within this framework:
“Two killed, 20 homes torched in Cameroon Boko Haram”, The Daily Star, 4 February 2020.
 See within this framework: “Headless corpses killed by Boko Haram in Cameroon”, alarabiya.net, 9 December 2019. Available at: https://bit.ly/36h8CMi
“Victims in two attacks by terrorist Boko Haram in Cameroon and Chad”, skynewsarabia, 23 February 2018. Available at: https://www.skynewsarabia.com/world/1024319
“Two people killed in a suicide attack in Cameroon”, Asharq Al-Awsat, 25 December 2016. Available at: https://bit.ly/3kN1ifF
“4 killed in a twin attack in northern Cameroon”, skynewsarabia, 28 January 2016. Available at: https://www.skynewsarabia.com/world/811519
 For more details, see: http://visionofhumanity.org/app/uploads/2019/11/GTI-2019web.pdf
 See in this context:
Edward B. Rackley, "Cameroon’s Far North: Responding to Boko Haram", Oxford Research Group, 31 March 2017.
 “Legislative elections in a country that has only known Paul Biya as president”, al-ain, 9 February 2020. Available at: https://al-ain.com/article/legislative-elections-cameroon-atmosphere-tension
 “Niger hit by Nigeria’s Boko Haram fallout”, BBC, 22 April 2014. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-27111884
 “Two soldiers killed in a jihadist attack in northern Cameroon”, france24, 27 May 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/30bpqkl
 “Cameroonian army kills five of Boko Haram terrorist operatives”, Saudi Press Agency (SPA), 27 July 2020. Available at: https://www.spa.gov.sa/2114496
 “Chad's army kills 1,000 Boko Haram militants in a week”, alarabiya.net, 20 May 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/2EBzCuF
 “Chad: Ten soldiers killed in a military operation against a Boko Haram base”, france24, 20 September 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/3mS0xUh
 “The Secretary-General strongly condemned ‘heinous attacks’ against civilians in the Lake Chad Basin”, United Nations (UN), 4 August 2020. Available at: https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/08/1069462
 “Seven civilians killed by Boko Haram suicide bombers in Cameroon”, elaph, 6 April 2020. Available at: https://elaph.com/Web/News/2020/04/1287919.html
 “Taking advantage of the epidemic, ‘Boko Haram’ cooperates with Corona in igniting Nigeria and the borders of Cameroon”, almarjie-paris, 24 April 2020. Available at: https://www.almarjie-paris.com/14891
 “Lake Chad Basin Countries and the Security Threat of Boko Haram”, qiraatafrican, 8 October 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/32ONaMQ
 “Why did the Multinational Force fail to eliminate Boko Haram in West Africa?”, alhurra, 8 July 2020. Available at: https://arbne.ws/3iSK6og
EPC | 20 Oct 2020
Mohamed Fawzi | 19 Oct 2020
Shereen Mohammed | 18 Oct 2020