A Cameroon army vessel carrying “dozens” of troops from the elite Rapid Intervention Brigade capsized on Sunday off the country’s southwestern coast, a security source told AFP.
The Rapid Intervention Brigade is an elite squad in the front line of Cameroon’s fight against Islamist militants, Boko Haram in the far north.
The vessel “capsized on Sunday between the city of Limbe and Bakassi. There were dozens of troops on board, including a colonel,” a source said on condition of anonymity.
“The army has begun searches,” the source said, while another source close to the Cameroon army said at least one body had been recovered.
It is understood that apart from the troops the boat was also transporting equipment for construction work at a military base on the Bakassi peninsula along the country’s border with Nigeria where the Brigade has helped to bring security after a previous spate of hostage-takings.
Jihadists Boko Haram has reached further into the far north of Cameroon as the Nigerian army intensifies operations to flush them out.
The West African country has over the past weeks witnessed a resurgence in attacks blamed on Boko Haram after months of relative calm.
Last week two bombers blew themselves up in northeastern Cameroon killing 15 people in an attack blamed on the Islamic State-affiliated terrorists, with its leader, Abubakar Shekau, threatening to take over the region.
It is reported that over 200,000 Cameroonians from the Far North region have fled their villages in the wake of the violence.