At least 29 people were wounded Wednesday in a suicide attack by a female bomber in Cameroon’s Far North, a region frequently hit by Boko Haram, security sources said.
“A suicide bomber blew herself up this morning in Amchide,” a town on the border with Nigeria, a regional security source said, speaking on condition of anonymity and giving a toll of 29 wounded.
A second bomber was shot dead by troops deployed in the town before she could detonate her explosives, the source said.
The attack occurred on market day when the town was filling up with early-morning shoppers, a local civil defence group official said.
“There were many people hurt, I saw about 20,” he said. “After the attack, the market emptied.”
A once-bustling trade hub, in 2014 Amchide was thrust into the forefront of a major battle between Cameroonian troops and Boko Haram militants who held the nearby Nigerian town of Banki for several months.
The violence forced most residents to flee the town, although some have now begun to return.
After pushing back Boko Haram, the Cameroonian army dug long trenches around Amchide and even inside the town to foil new incursions by the jihadists, with Wednesday’s attack the first in many months.
Boko Haram has lately intensified its armed campaign amid signs of a takeover by more radical leaders.
Boko Haram split into two factions in mid-2016 over ideological differences, but a recent video posted by Abubakar Shekau hints at a possible reconciliation with the faction led by Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawi and known as Islamic State West Africa Province.
Shekau’s faction is notorious for suicide bombings and indiscriminate killings of civilians, while the Barnawi faction largely focuses on attacking military and government targets.
Shekau has pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, but ISIS central gave its formal backing only to ISWAP. The upsurge in attacks has been seen as a sign of a hardline takeover in the ISWAP faction by more radical lieutenants.
With reporting from AFP