Sunday 25 February 2018

Twin blasts leave 19 dead and 143 wounded in northern Cameroon

Security forces and civilians helped to carry wounded from the scene Credit: Reuters
Security forces and civilians helped to carry wounded from the scene Credit: Reuters

Sylvain Andzongo

About 19 people were killed and 143 more injured when a bomb went off near an army camp in northern Cameroon, where soldiers are battling Boko Haram fighters from Nigeria.

A second blast hit a crowded market shortly afterwards.

The attacks targeted Kerawa, a town in the Far North region that was the scene of clashes between Boko Haram militants and government soldiers in February.

"For the moment there are around 19 dead and about 143 wounded in the attack near the camp. We're still awaiting a report from our teams on the bombing at the market," a senior army officer based in northern Cameroon said.

A police official in town told Reuters the same figure, while a local government official gave a provisional toll of six dead and 87 wounded.

The first bomb exploded in the morning in the market in Kerawa and the other soon after near a camp housing infantry soldiers stationed in the north to fight the Nigerian Islamist group.

Another local government official said he had been told that the attacks were carried out by female bombers.

Boko Haram has stepped up attacks on the countries bordering its northeast Nigerian stronghold - Chad, Niger and Cameroon - after they took part in a regional offensive against it earlier this year.

The Islamist fighters were blamed for a series of suicide bombings in the town of Maroua, also in the Far North, that killed dozens of people in July.

Cameroon has deployed thousands of troop to its northern border where militants carry out regular raids, killing some villagers and kidnapping others.


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