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Tuesday 17 October 2017

11 killed as girls detonate explosives at displacement camp in Cameroon

Nigerian refugees at a displacement camp in Cameroon (Amnesty International/PA)
Nigerian refugees at a displacement camp in Cameroon (Amnesty International/PA)

Eleven people have been killed as two girls detonated explosives at a camp in northern Cameroon for people displaced by Boko Haram violence, authorities said.

Midjiyawa Bakari, governor of the Far North region, said the 11 dead included the girls who detonated devices at the camp in Kolofata.

He said several dozen others were wounded, including 15 who were taken to hospital in Mora.

Authorities believe the girls entered Cameroon the night before from neighbouring Nigeria, where Boko Haram has killed more than 20,000 people in its eight-year insurgency.

Northern Cameroon has seen a rise in such attacks, with some towns targeted repeatedly.

In January last year, two female bombers attacked a mosque in Kolofata, killing at least 10 people.

In September 2015, suicide bombers killed nine people there.

Boko Haram is known for kidnapping girls and using children to carry out bomb attacks.

In April, the UN children's agency said at least 117 attacks had been carried out by youngsters in the Lake Chad basin region since 2014, with nearly 80% of the bombs strapped to girls. They are sometimes drugged beforehand.

The Islamic extremist group two years ago began attacks in neighbouring countries that have supported the Nigerian military's efforts to counter it. A multinational force is now active in the region.

In December, Nigeria declared that Boko Haram had been "crushed" after the military cleared out its strongholds, but attacks have continued.

The UN children's agency said on Friday that Cameroon was hosting 96,000 Nigerian registered refugees as of mid-May, but many are now returning. More than 12,000 went back last month.

Many are sleeping in the open just inside the border as "most returnees are still unable to travel onwards to their home villages where security remains uncertain", Unicef said.


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