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Suicide Bombings Climb in Northern Cameroon


FILE - In this 2015 photo, Cameroon soldiers check a truck on the border between Cameroon and Nigeria as they combat regional Islamic extremists force's including Boko Haram.

Suicide bombings continue to climb in northern Cameroon with deadly attacks in the communities of Fomeka, Mora and Kerawa near Cameroon's border with Nigeria reported since Saturday.

Cameroonian military officials and the governor of the Far North region tell VOA the attacks killed at least 20 people, including nine suicide bombers.

Mabuwah Isaac, who heads the self-defense group in the village of Kerawa, told VOA at least 100 residents have fled since the attack there on Saturday.

He said members of his group managed to overpower one attacker disguised as a pregnant woman as she struggled to detonate her explosives. But two other female bombers blew themselves up, killing four people.

The failed bomber, a 17-year old, was handed to the military.

Suicide attacks have resurged in northern Cameroon since late May. The resurgence coincided with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which has ended; however, military officials also believe the incidents are linked to military operations across the border in northeast Nigeria.

Nigerian General Lucky Leo Irabor took command of the 7,000-strong multinational joint task force in May. Since then, he says they have organized ongoing raids on remaining Boko Haram strongholds as part of a plan to quickly eradicate terrorism.

"My priority is to build on the successes, ensuring that the partnership that has existed is increased to a higher level," Irabor said. "And of course, as the threat is dynamic, for us to find newer ways of addressing those dynamic challenges."

The commander of the Cameroonian troops fighting in the regional force, General Bouba Dobekreo, said suicide bombers have escaped the raids and entered Cameroon disguised as refugees or internally displaced persons.

He said authorities must do everything possible with Nigeria to stop the massive influx of refugees into Cameroon.

Dobekreo warned that while his forces have recovered equipment from the militants and destroyed ammunition and vehicles, the suicide attacks will continue. He added that officials are also concerned more female suicide bombers remain at large.

The Cameroon government says it has deployed more troops to the border area and given more communications equipment to local self-defense groups so they can report suspicious activity.

The Boko Haram conflict has displaced about 200,000 people in northern Cameroon and sent another 75,000 Nigerian refugees across the border into Cameroon. Nearly three-quarters of the displaced are women and children.

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