A diplomatic convoy on a mission in Cameroon carrying the visiting US ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, accidentally struck down and killed a young body.
The US ambassador who is visiting Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad, with officials from USAID, the Pentagon and the UN, as part of Washington’s effort to support local authorities in their fight against the extremist group Boko Haram, told a news conference in Maroua, northern Cameroon.
“As we, the United Nations, and Cameroonian officials drove to Mokoko this morning, a vehicle in the convoy that we were a part of struck a young boy.”
“Although he received immediate medical care from an ambulance in our convoy, he died shortly thereafter,”
She said, according to a transcript provided by the State Department.
“We visited the boys family to offer our profound condolences and to express our grief and heartbreak over what the family is going through.”
The US officials were not able to say whether their government will pay compensation to the boy’s family.
On the USAID mission to support local authorities in their fight against the terrorists, Power told reporters the international community would help Cameroon fight Boko Haram, but it was important to have a strategy in place to provide security, development and human rights to vulnerable populations in liberated territory.
“I just want to underscore that America’s support for this effort is one that cuts across all areas. We cannot defeat Boko Haram only using military force.”
“Of course, military force has to be part of it. They have guns, they have suicide vests, they have armored vehicles -– they have those things, and we will fight them.
“But we also have to ensure that as we take the fight to Boko Haram with us supporting you, that we do so in a manner that respects the lives of civilians.”
In Maroua, an enclave some 800 miles from the Cameroonian capital sandwiched between Chad and Nigeria, shortages of water, schools and investment are chronic.
Activists, opposition politicians and Muslim clerics say the extremists will draw Maroua’s disaffected youth to their ranks as long as economic opportunities are limited and security forces continue committing indiscriminate atrocities while trying to stamp out the insurgency.