Boko Haram violence spreads in Cameroon

Yaoundé (AFP) - The far north of Cameroon, where a double suicide attack killed at least 11 people on Wednesday, has been regularly targeted by Nigerian Islamist extremists from Boko Haram.

Over the past two years they have stepped up abductions and deadly raids in the frontier region with Nigeria.

Although weakened by an offensive by the Nigerian army and collaborating armies from neighbouring Chad, Cameroon and Niger, the insurgents have stepped up violence in the region of Lake Chad.

- Abductions -

February 19, 2013: A French family of seven, including four children, on holiday, is abducted by armed men on motorcycles. Boko Haram claims responsibility. The family is freed in April.

November 14, 2013: French Roman Catholic priest Father Georges Vandenbeusch is abducted. Boko Haram claims responsibility. On December 31 French President Francois Hollande says he has been freed.

April 5, 2014: Two Italian priests and a Canadian nun are abducted in their parish 800 kilometres (497 miles) to the north of the capital. The security forces blame Boko Haram. The hostages are freed in June.

May 16, 2014: Ten Chinese people are abducted during a attack blamed on Boko Haram on a camp of Chinese workers. On July 27, two attacks target the residence of a deputy prime minister, whose wife is abducted and the palace of the sultan of Kolofata, who is kidnapped with his wife and their five children. All the hostages are freed in October.

- Cameroonian reinforcements -

May 27, 2014: The Cameroonian army starts to deploy in the far north to face up to the Boko Haram threat.

March 2, six Islamists and one Cameroon soldier are killed in clashes after an incursion of the group.

- Cameroon air power -

December 28, 2014: Cameroon commits for the first time its air force to fend off a Boko Haram assault.

Since August 2014, Boko Haram has stepped up attacks in northern Cameroon and over the months it has thrown more and more men into its operations, taking on the Cameroonian army, and not only civilians.

- Offensive against Boko Haram -

February 3, 2015: Chadian troops, who started to deploy in Cameroon in mid-January to take on Boko Haram, launch a ground offensive in Nigeria after months of violence and expansion by the Islamist group.

On February 4, the Islamists launch a counter-attack in Cameroon, killing dozens of civilians and setting the grand mosque of the border town of Fotokol on fire, before being repelled by Cameroonian and Chadian soldiers.

- First suicide attack -

July 12, 2015: Two female suicide bombers carry out the first such attacks in Cameroon: 11 people are killed at Fotokol.

On July 16 the authorities in the far north ban the wearing of the full Islamic veil to fight against attacks.

- Double suicide attack -

July 22, 2015: A double suicide attack leaves 11 dead and 32 injured in Maroua.