Cameroon troops shell Boko Haram camp

Yaounde - Cameroon's army has attacked the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram, shelling one of their camps across the border and killing "many" fighters, a security official said on Thursday.

The source said the army had shelled the camp on Wednesday evening, two days after the jihadist group had seized control of the town of Gamboru Ngala on the border with Cameroon.

"It was tanks stationed on the frontier at Fotokol (on Cameroon's side of the border) that shelled the camp on the other side," the source said on condition of anonymity.

"Seen from Fotokol this morning, Gamboru looks empty and smells of death," he added. "Nobody knows how many Boko Haram members were killed, but it is obvious that many were."

The shelling was confirmed by a local police officer.

"These were abandoned houses that they have occupied since they entered Gamboru. We think they still control the town, because there are many of them and they didn't all gather in the same place," he said.

Fotokol had returned to calm by Wednesday following days of panic as residents and Nigerian security forces fled there to escape the Boko Haram attack on Gamboru.

Boko Haram has faced minimal resistance from the military as it has stepped up attacks across northeast Nigeria, where it wants to create a hardline Islamic state.

After clashes in Gamboru Ngala, Nigeria's army dismissed suggestions that the soldiers had fled and instead said they had been "charging through the borders in a tactical manoeuvre" and found themselves on Cameroonian soil.