- Title: Boko Haram threat stiffles economy in Cameroon's Far North Region.
- Date: 28th September 2016
- Summary: MAROUA, CAMEROON (FILE) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (REUTERS) POLICE OFFICERS SEARCH STREET VENDORS OUTSIDE SCHOOL CAMPUS VARIOUS OF POLICE OFFICERS PATROLLING NEAR SCHOOL CAMPUS VARIOUS OF POLICE OFFICER SEARCHING CHILD AND HIS BACKPACK TRUCKS WITH FREED HOSTAGES ARRIVING VARIOUS OF PARKED TRUCKS WITH FREED HOSTAGES VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WAITING IN CROWDED TRUCK
- Embargoed: 13th October 2016 14:40
- Keywords: Marau Economy Boko Haram Attacks Trade Cameroon Nigeria Far North Region Market
- Location: MAROUA, CAMEROON
- City: MAROUA, CAMEROON
- Country: Cameroon
- Topics: Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA00251HBYHJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: ===PLEASE NOTE, EDIT CONTAINS SOME 4:3 MATERIAL====
It's market day in Cameroon's bustling trade hub - the northern city of Maroua, which not long ago had gone quiet.
For years, the capital of Cameroon's Far North region's was sustained by cross border trade of onions, rice, maize, livestock and other agricultural goods with neighbouring Nigeria.
But the region's economy was hit by an Islamist insurgency led by Boko Haram - the militant group that has wreaked havoc in Nigeria.
The violence seeped through the porous border into Cameroon and the insecurity essentially closed down vital transport links between the two countries.
A military offensive has driven Boko Haram from much of the territory it held in northern Nigeria, but the militants have continued to carry out suicide bombings and raids in northeast Nigeria and neighbouring Cameroon, Niger and Chad.
In Cameroon, teenage girls have killed dozens in suicide bombings.
Although market activity has resumed in Maroua, people say they are struggling to make a living and that they live in fear.
"The market is no longer what it used to be. We are unable to sell our produce, our produce is just here rotting, nothing gets sold," said one vendor Anna Mita.
"The attacks have made things tough for us. There is produce in the market but we can hardly afford buying anything," said customer Myrine Atangana.
"All of this is because of Boko Haram and their attacks, which have blocked trade and transport, so now people are scared to come to the market because of fear of the attacks. People no longer come to Maroua like they used to, they used to come and shop, so it's really dead," added business man, Ahmadou Badika.
Boko Haram militants have killed thousands in their bloody campaign to carve out an Islamic caliphate in northern Nigeria, and they have taken their fight outside the country's borders.
Neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger have all been affected, with incursions into border villages and transport routes.
The Cameroonian army is using Maroua as a base in the fight against Boko Haram. Security is high and patrols are frequent. Many hope that this will help restore confidence in the region's economy.
"Economic activity is slowly picking up, but things are still expensive and many people can't afford them. But Thank God, things are picking up again little by little, and when you walk around you can see that things are picking up and that people are once again hopeful that things are going back to normal," said Mohaman Banoussa, an official from the ministry of trade in Maroua.
But the fight is not over. As neighbouring countries affected by the insurgency scramble to find a solution, Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State militant group that controls tracts of Syria and Iraq, calling on its supporters to fight in Africa.
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