Seven killed in Cameroon jihadist attack
A suicide bomber on Tuesday killed seven civilians in a village housing displaced people in Cameroon’s restive northern tip bordering Nigeria, where deadly attacks have been on the rise.
The police officer said Tuesday’s bombing followed a Boko Haram raid on a village, adding: “The people fled and a young man strapped with explosives chased them and blew himself up.”
The Cameroonian government uses the term Boko Haram to refer loosely to the Nigerian jihadist group of the same name, as well as the breakaway Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) group.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees said it “firmly condemns this attack which killed seven civilians and wounded 14 others in Kouyape village.
“The suicide bomb attack took place near Kolofata, close to the border with Nigeria, where some 18,000 internally displaced people have sought safety over the past seven years,” the refugee agency said.
Cameroon’s far north, an impoverished strip of land between Chad and Nigeria, has been a regular target of raids and assaults by Boko Haram since 2013.
The jihadist group launched its insurgency in Nigeria in 2009 before spilling over into neighbouring Cameroon, Niger and Chad.
It has killed more than 30,000 people, forcing three million to flee their homes, according to the UN.
“We are horrified by these senseless attacks on people who have been torn from their villages, fleeing violence perpetrated by armed gangs which rage in the region, only to be stripped of safety again after they just found refuge elsewhere,” said Olivier Guillaume Beer, UNHCR Representative in Cameroon.
“The killing of innocent civilians has to stop,” he said. “We call on armed groups to respect the rights and lives of civilian populations.”
The attack came a month after 18 people died and 15 were injured by an armed group on the Nguetchewe IDP site. Two young suicide bombers were involved in the attacks, according to officials.
Boko Haram has staged nearly 90 attacks in Cameroon since January.
On August 25, ISWAP attacked a Cameroonian island near the Nigerian border killing 14 people, according to Nigerian authorities.
Security experts say ISWAP is extending its grip and influence around Lake Chad, a vast, marshy area also shared by Niger and Chad. (AFP)