The Islamic militant group Boko Haram has spread its reign of terror, kidnapping a total of 30 people in two bus hijackings in Cameroon and Nigeria.
Edwin Kindeza Moki of the Associated Press reported that the first bus attack took place on Sunday about 11 miles from Cameroon's border with Nigeria. The other bus attack happened on Sunday as well, with Boko Haram taking 20 people hostage in a Nigerian village, including women and children.
"Your soldiers are infidels, and God's soldiers are victorious," the group's leader, Abubakar Shekau, said in a lengthy video posted in Arabic to YouTube.
The Associated Press reported that Boko Haram killed seven hostages in the two hijackings. In addition, a school principal in the area said that the slain hostages' bodies were scattered near the border.
According to Jim Michaels of USA Today, the attacks came as Boko Haram faced a stronger response from governments in the region that have woken up to the threat from the terror group. Some foreign security experts compared the African militant group to the brutality practiced by ISIS in the Middle East.
"There is a multinational response that's forming," Jennifer Cooke, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said. "This is turning into a much more robust regional response."
Boko Haram also blew up a car bomb in Niger. The Associated Press reported that in response to that attack, Niger's parliament voted to approve supporting the mission against the terror group on Monday.
"The vote came just hours after a car bombing in the town of Diffa, which was blamed on Boko Haram, who had launched three other attacks on the town since Friday," Moki wrote.
Michaels reported that over the weekend, Niger, Cameroon and Benin agreed to form an African Union force of up to 8,700 troops to respond to Boko Haram. Shekau ridiculed the force set against him, calling the participating countries "you tyrants of Africa."
According to Thomas Hubert of France 24, Niger's Defense Minister Mahamadou Karidjo went on national television Sunday taking swipes at the terror group.
"We shall eradicate the Boko Haram plague in the region," Karidjo said. "The boys are chomping at the bit to go."
Based on the reaction in the YouTube video, Shekau seemed unfazed by the response.
"Your alliance will not achieve anything," Shekau said. "Amass all your weapons and face us. We welcome you."
Leon Koungou, who wrote a book about the Boko Haram threat in Cameroon, told France 24 that it was insufficient to beat back the terror group. Although he welcomed the announcement of an integrated regional force as "a first step," more would need to be done in responding to Boko Haram.
"In this asymmetrical conflict, we need to shift efforts towards intelligence gathering," Koungou said.
The academic also thought that in addition to lack of communication, the reluctance to accept support from France, which used to be a colonial power in that part of Africa, has hampered efforts too.
"The four French drones based in Niamey are very efficient - let's be realistic," Koungou said.