Thirteen civilians, including eight children, died on Friday when a female suicide bomber blew herself up in a jihadist attack on a village in northern Cameroon, a traditional chief and a police officer told AFP.
Cameroon’s Far North region is grappling with deadly incursions from neighboring Nigeria, where an insurgency launched by Boko Haram in 2009 killed tens of thousands of people.
Mahamat Chetima Abba, the traditional leader, or lamido, in the village of Mozogo, said the attackers arrived in the middle of the night, shouting “Allah Akbar” (“God is greater”) and wielding machetes.
The panicked villagers tried to flee into the nearby forest, and in the stampede, the suicide bomber detonated his device, he said.
The account was confirmed by a member of the local defense committee, who said his group attempted to repel the attack.
“Thirteen civilians died, including two children aged four and five as well as six teenagers,” a regional police officer told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The lamido confirmed the number, saying that a woman and her three children were among the dead.
Both attributed the attack to Boko Haram.
The police source said that in addition to the suicide bomber, the other dead among the attackers was a man who had been killed by the self-defense forces.
“They have infiltrated the population – Boko Haram is inflicting more and more damage here,” said Chetima Abba.
“However, it appears that they no longer have the means to carry out massive attacks with rifles,” he said, noting that the attackers carried machetes.
“They are using homemade bombs more and more,” he said.
On Monday, three members of a self-defense force in the nearby village of Kaliari were killed.
More than 36,000 people have been killed, most in Nigeria, and three million people have fled their homes since Boko Haram launched its insurgency in northeastern Nigeria in 2009.
Boko Haram and a dissident group called Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) have stepped up their attacks in recent years in neighboring Nigeria and Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
Niger is also hit by the jihadists who cross Mali.
An attack on two villages in the Tillabéri region in western Niger left 105 people dead on Saturday, the highest civilian toll in the Sahel since the start of the jihadist insurgency in the region in 2012.
© 2021 AFP